What’s the Jane Austen News this week?
Jane never married, but that’s not to say that she didn’t think about it. When she was a young girl she had great fun filling in fictitious entries in the Steventon marriage register, which she had access to because her father, George Austen, was the rector of the parish.
The records which show Jane’s handwritten entries linking her to two separate husbands, will go on display in May as part of the Mysterious Miss Austen exhibition at Winchester’s Discovery Centre.
The little-known document includes a fictitious entry for the publication of banns between Henry Frederic Howard Fitzwilliam of London and Jane Austen of Steventon, while another entry details the marriage of Edmund Arthur William Mortimer of Liverpool and Jane Austen of Steventon.
On July 22nd at 2pm, the Bath and Bristol group of the Jane Austen Society of the United Kingdom will be holding a
commemoration event to mark 200 years since Jane Austen’s death at St Swithin’s Church, Bath.
This is a special event with a short service in the church, followed by a dancing display and readings. It’s particularly appropriate to hold the service at St. Swithin’s, as this is the church where George Austen and Cassandra Leigh, Jane’s parents, were married in 1764, where the Austen family went to church while in Bath (the Abbey was considered to be too crowded), and where George Austen is buried.
Tickets cost £10 (including tea), and are available from Bath Box Office (01225 463362).
The winner of the textile design competition which was put on by Hampshire’s Whitchurch Silk Mill, has been announced.
The competition was held in partnership with Winchester School of Art, and the challenge was to produce a textile design to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. The students were asked to produce a design which reflected Jane Austen’s enduring influence for a modern-day audience, and offered the winning student the chance to produce their fabric on the handloom in the Mill’s café.
The winner was Nicole Calliste, who made a design that was inspired by the character of Catherine Morland from Northanger Abbey. Nicole believed that the imagination and inquisitive nature of Catherine marks her out as a heroine who would resonate with the youth of today.
Mill director, Sue Tapliss, said: “Nicole’s design leapt out from the page with its strong use of colour of embellishments. This is the sort of fabric a young woman of great imagination and creativity may have chosen today.”
Following a recent visit to the Jane Austen Centre by micro-artist Graham Short, who engraved four £5 notes with a small image of Austen and a line from her novels last year, rumours have been flying, speculating whether another £5 note with an image of Jane Austen and one of her quotes (thought to be worth £50,000) might perhaps have been put into circulation in Bath.
Our general manager at the Jane Austen Centre, Paul Crossey, told the Bath Chronicle about Mr Short’s visit:
“The centre was unaware of Mr Short’s visit until he had been to both the tea room and exhibition, and then before he left he handed a business card to a member of staff in the gift shop. I briefly spoke to Mr Short while he was in the tea room, but did not realise who he was. Something about his look made me wonder if he was an artist. I admired his taste in attire, although I’m not sure I could pull off those leopard print shoes!”
“We obviously wondered if he had spent another engraved five pound note, but we were very busy that day and gave out a lot of change, before we realised who he was and had a chance to check our tills.”
So, it appears that only time will tell in the question of whether a new £5 note is now on the loose!
Rosamund Pike, who played Jane Bennet in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (which also starred other quintessentially English actors such as Keira Knightley as Lizzy Bennet, Brenda Blethyn as Mrs Bennet, and Matthew Macfadyen as Mr Darcy), has argued against the view that Jane Austen, according to some, can be a bit on the boring side.
In an interview with Flaunt magazine, Rosamund explained:
People say Jane is boring, but you have to take issue with that. She’s someone who’s chosen to go through life looking for the best in people. It’s not that Jane doesn’t see the bad, but she focuses on the good. I was struck by her subtlety, and the issue of what happens when your pride is hurt. While I was playing her I felt so nice, it was relaxing and a really happy time.
Rosamund said that her mood mellowed while playing Jane Bennet, and that she found her happy place while shooting Pride and Prejudice. At the Jane Austen News, we certainly consider Jane Austen’s novels to be our happy place.
The University of Tennessee will be hosting AustenFest, a three-day celebration of the work and the Regency world of Jane, from April 5th-April 7th.
Included within the programme are:
On the 5th – a film screening of Emma, and a reading tent and old-fashioned games for children.
On the 6th – an Austen special collections presentation, a public lecture titled “Jane Austen and the Common Reader: Contemporary Responses to Emma”, and afternoon tea.
On the 7th – tea blending workshops, a marathon reading of Jane’s greatest scenes, a public lecture titled “The Making of Jane Austen”, and a Regency ball with dance demonstrations, English Country dancing, and desserts for all.
A wonderful programme of events! And happily, all of the events are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. More information can be found here.
As spring starts t0 show its face, we’re already looking forward to using the good weather to recreate the romance of the picnic at Box Hill in Emma, and to take long country strolls which would make Lizzy Bennet proud. At the Jane Austen News we feel that it’s never to early to plan for the nice weather, so we were pleased to hear that the Swiss Garden at Shuttleworth (in Bedfordshire, England) have had the same idea and one of their plans for the summer will be to throw a Regency Garden Party on Sunday 16th July 2017.
On the itinerary is an afternoon of authentic Regency music, dancing, drama and kids activities. Visitors are encouraged to come in Regency style dress, but it’s not a requirement. The event is running from 12 – 5:30 and more information can be found here.
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