Icons of England
  • Introduction
  • The Icons
  • Nominations
  • News
  • Learn & Play
  • Your Comments

Mapp & Lucia by E.F. Benson

1156 of 1169 nominations


Mapp & Lucia by E.F. Benson

Is this an icon?


Mapp & Lucia by E.F. Benson

Mapp and Lucia (1931) is the sixth of E.F. Benson’s delightfully witty ‘Lucia’ novels, satirising the snobbery, back-biting and pretension of upper-middle class English life.
Mrs Emmeline Lucas, known to her friends as Lucia, has artistic pretensions and a habit of peppering her conversation with Italian phrases (‘molto bello!’). Recently widowed, Lucia moves to the small country town of Tilling (modelled on Rye), where she is determined to replace Miss Elizabeth Mapp as reigning social queen. Lucia’s arrival sets off a full scale war between the ladies, in which very English garden parties, ‘cosy’ bridge evenings, fêtes, callisthenics classes and musical soirées serve as their hard fought battlefields. Although Lucia is cleverer, Mapp is equally determined and more unscrupulous. The book climaxes when the villainous Mapp attempts to steal Lucia’s celebrated recipe for Lobster à la Riseholme, and the two ladies are swept out to sea on a kitchen table.

The ladies found many new fans in the 1980s, when Channel Four dramatised three of the novels in two series, starring Geraldine McEwan as Lucia and Prunella Scales as Mapp.


Your comments

A wonderful comedy of manners set in a quitensential Englsih village

dave patten

Totally fresh and totally English. A period in time never to be seen again. I can't help but smile every time I see or read about Mapp and Lucia. Any news?
Greg Wright

Yes yes yes! Especially, I'm afraid, if appalling snobbery dressed up as friendly concern is also peculiarly English and I suspect it is!
Paul Ryan

View All Comments (2)



My favourite Icon of England has to be the Cornish Pasty.

Ian Baldry