Specificity in details can only add to a character, giving them the background and making them more human in the eyes of the viewer. For Julian Fellowes, a lot of the specific attributes we see in Violet Crawley are pieces of the puzzle he recalls from his time living with his great-aunt.
In a talk on NPR’s “Clean air,” Fellowes described her great-grandmother as a tragic person, but not without her humour: “Her husband died of his wounds at the end of World War I. And her only child drowned when She’s in her second year in the army, so she’s got a lot to deal with. Poor thing. But she’s tough and funny.”
His great-grandmother, full of nuances and quirks, appeared in other ways that needed a little more explanation. Fellowes shared how Dame Maggie Smith came to him to get her thoughts on Violet’s particular snob over marmalade. He explained to Smith: “This particular aunt always thought that if a house ran out of jams and jellies it wouldn’t do well, that was a sign of weakness. When it came to line execution, Smith then completely understood the task and nailed it.
Fellowes and Smith collaboration has gone on to create one of the most memorable matriarchal films audiences have seen in years. Knowing that the Countess Dowager was greatly inspired by her great-aunt, it is easy to say that her legacy lives on and it encapsulates a bygone era in history.
https://www.slashfilm.com/955996/maggie-smiths-downton-abbey-role-was-written-with-a-very-specific-person-in-mind/ The role of Maggie Smith Abbey Abbey was written with a very specific person in mind