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Michelle Dockery illustrated by David Downton for Vanity Fair

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Image and video hosting by TinyPic


It’s all in the gaze. “She thinks before she speaks,” says actress Michelle Dockery of Lady Mary Crawley, the character she plays on Masterpiece’s hit series Downton Abbey. “From the get-go Mary has always been someone who thinks.” The same can be said of Dockery, who recently spent an afternoon at Claridge’s in London with the celebrated illustrator David Downton, master of the light touch that goes deep. “The sense I had of Michelle,” says Downton, “is of somebody that is very intelligent and very ‘watchful’ ... no, ‘watchful’ is the wrong word. She’s alive to life, to what’s going on.”

For three hours the artist sketched, the actress wore Givenchy and Balenciaga and Oscar de la Renta, and the two “Downtons” talked while a face was captured. Regal in the cheekbones, between-the-wars in her aloof beauty and that arched eyebrow, it’s a face that can go icy in an instant or warm like the dawn. “She has that thing of being classic and contemporary,” explains Downton, “that very strange mix where she looks at home, at ease, in period. But there’s also a glimmer, a spark.”

That glimmer and spark was recently brought to the Sundance Channel’s Restless, in which Dockery played the daughter of a W.W. II spy. Due out in 2013 is the airborne thriller Non-Stop, with Dockery starring alongside Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore.

“She’s worked. She’s 30. She’s ready,” says Downton. “There’s a sense with her of ‘Isn’t this great? This is a golden hour!’ And I love that in a person, when they know.”

“I do know,” says Dockery. “And I relish it as much as I can. I’ve never been someone who expects too much, I guess to avoid the disappointment. And I know it will end at some point. So I try not to let anything dampen how amazing it all really is.” This moment, her likeness, in the air.


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Tags: british celebrities, downton abbey (itv)
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