What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Mr Bennet With Us For Ten Years!!!
Our Mr Bennet (A.K.A. Martin, our meeter-greeter who welcomes all our visitors to the Jane Austen Centre) has been with us for ten years! So to celebrate we arranged a little surprise for him…
The Telegraph recently published their top ten literary tours that literature lovers ought to take this year. Happily, a tour of Jane Austen’s England was on the list…but only at number five! Even though this year is Jane Austen 200 and events are taking place all over the country to celebrate!
So who beat her in the top ten?
At number one was a 10-night literary pilgrimage to García Márquez’s homeland, visiting the spots most associated with his life and works. (This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the publication of One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967).)
At number two was a tour of Shakespeare’s England.
At number three was a tour of the island of Sodermalm in central Stockholm; following in the footsteps of Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander, the two main characters in Steig Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.
Then at number four was a Japanese walking tour, recreating the 17th-century haiku poet Matsuo Basho’s legendary travelogue The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
While these all sound like great escapes, surely Jane’s 200th anniversary ought to have pushed her further up the list?!
Speaking of 200 year anniversaries, a conference at Trinity College, Cambridge running from 29-31 March this year, will be celebrating the bicentenary of the composition of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, Sanditon. Jane began to write Sanditon in January of 1817 and the manuscript closes with the date of March 18. Austen died four months later on July 18.
The conference will be devoted to discussing a diverse range of subjects relating to Jane Austen’s last work. Particular attention will be given to the manuscript of Sanditon and Austen’s compositional processes, as well as to the reception and textual history of Sanditon in terms of editions, adaptations and continuations. Papers on thematic, historical, stylistic and biographical topics are invited.
The conference will be held at Trinity College, Cambridge, with planned visits to King’s College and to Austen exhibitions at the University Library, Cambridge and the English Faculty, Cambridge.
More information on the conference can be found here.
Just Jane’s Ring. No Big Deal (?!)
Nicky Gottelier, great-great-great-great-great niece of Jane Austen, has been speaking in a recent interview for Fox’s latest episode of Strange Inheritance with Jamie Colby, about the uproar caused when she sold the gold and turquoise ring of Jane’s.
Nicky inherited and kept the ring hidden in a dresser for more than 30 years. She inherited the ring from her father in 1981 – then stowed it away while she raised her two sons. “I couldn’t have it out. We had two small boys, and lots of people come into the house. Anything could have happened to it. To all intents and purposes, for a long time, it was pretty well forgotten about.”
Then, as neither of Nicky’s sons was particularly interested in keeping the heirloom she decided to sell it. “I thought, there’s no point in hanging onto it forever.”
When Nicky then put the ring up for auction (amazingly she says she never considered could be a national treasure!), it sold for approximately $250,000 to former American Idol Kelly Clarkson. However, the British government immediately stepped in, declaring the ring to be the national treasure it certainly is, and halting the sale.
At the Jane Austen News we couldn’t imagine saying goodbye to such an amazing piece of Austen history. It’s incredible to think that it could have been left in a drawer and “pretty well forgotten about” for so long!
Jane Austen Had Upside Down Wallpaper!
Fragments of faulty wallpaper discovered in corners of Jane Austen’s former home have suggested to curators that some of the paper was accidentally hung upside down!
As changes to the house in Chawton were recently being undertaken, hand-printed motifs bearing mistakes were found. As such, leading wallpaper specialists Hamilton Weston believe they were “seconds”. Which wouldn’t be surprising as at the time wallpaper was an expensive luxury and heavily taxed, so it is thought the Austen family, who were not rich, may have bought the paper cheaply. Unfortunately it meant that it was tricky to correctly hang…
Curator Mary Guyatt said:
There’s a central motif that looks like a bit like a spider – that was meant to have a rosebud there. The person who was hanging the paper didn’t have that to go on. If it had been there he would have understood immediately which way round it was supposed to be.
Sense and Sensibility Cottage Sold
A Devon cottage which featured in the 1995 film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility starring Hugh Grant and Emma Thompson has just been sold to a mystery artist.
Warren Cottage on the estuary of the River Yealm was part of the country estate of the banker Edward Baring, Lord Revelstoke. It was originally built in the 1880s for the estate’s rabbit keeper, hence its name.
The artist who bought it didn’t buy it for it’s links to the Austen adaptation however, instead they instantly fell in love with the Grade II listed building for its period features, atmosphere, and the ever-changing light along the carriage drive.
We can’t speak for the ever-changing light, but, aside from the attraction of its film credits, we at the Jane Austen News can’t get over the view it has! Imagine waking up to that every day!
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