By now the popularity of Downton Abbey has caught fire and lots of people here in the States, as well as in the UK, are watching the latest season of this period drama on the edge of their seats to see what happens to their favorite characters. As someone who has always loved historical fiction, I have jumped on the bandwagon this month and caught up with all the previous seasons which span the years 1912-1920. (I didn’t expect to get as hooked as I have, but there we go!) Besides the historical backdrops, intrigue, romance and dry English wit, the costuming and social graces reflect a past era and I now see why so many people talk of having some kind of “Downton” themed event.

As I was watching one of the dinner party scenes, I noticed that the menu was handwritten and my calligrapher’s antennae perked up. I love seeing hand-lettering on television and in films, especially to get inspiration and ideas. The dinner menu was done in a simple script, not overly elaborate or even in perfectly straight lines. But, there was something personal and elegant about it.

If you’ve never thought of doing this before, you can add some elegance to your dinner parties with handwritten menus such as this one, in plain script:

(photo courtesy of

Love the charm of bygone days? Do you long for it like I often do? Dress up a dinner party like the Crawley family at Downton with handwritten menus. Have fun with it!