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Jane Austen News – Issue 47

The Jane Austen News and a new note

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

Rare Portrait of Jane Austen Goes on Display

The Jane Austen News is - The Rice Portrait went on displayMembers of The Jane Austen Cambridge Group enjoyed a private viewing of an oil painting of Jane Austen, the ‘Rice Portrait’, at Queens’ College on Saturday (December 10) before the group’s annual lunch. They were also treated to a talk on the portrait’s origins and significance by researcher Ellie Bennett.

For the last ten years the group has celebrated Austen’s birthday with an annual lunch or dinner as near to December 16th, Jane Austen’s birthday, as possible. This year they had a special treat when the famous Rice Portrait was brought out of a vault in Switzerland for the occasion by owner Anne Rice and her son John. (Anne’s husband, the late Henry Rice, was a descendent of the Austen family, who died on July 18, 1817 and the portrait was passed down to him from the Austen family as part of the estate.)

There is some controversy around the portrait, as the National Portrait Gallery doesn’t believe the portrait is of Jane Austen, whereas other experts definitely think it is. The portrait was painted by Ozias Humphry in 1788 or 1789, and it is thought to be of Jane Austen at the age of 13.

It’s stunning. When you’re standing in front of it, the twinkle in her left eye. It’s like she’s looking at you. It’s quite incredible, you can’t see it and not be moved by it.

Vicki Smith, joint secretary of The Jane Austen Cambridge Group


Will Spain Have A Jane Austen Street? 

In the UK we at the Jane Austen News were delighted when it was announced that she would be appearing on the £10 bank screen-shot-2016-12-12-at-07-33-53note next year. It was also great news when we heard that a secondary school in Norwich was being named Jane Austen College. Now it seems that a street in León in Spain might be the next thing to be named after the great author.

As part of a widespread initiative across the country to be are replace Franco-era street names with those of influential women, León, in the northern part of the country, has asked the public to choose the new names they would like their streets to have from a list that includes Rosa Parks, Frida Kahlo, and Jane Austen. At the moment less than 10 percent of Spanish streets currently honour women, and, in Madrid, all but one of those that do are named for the Virgin Mary or a Catholic saint.


Austen Notes Worth Even More Than First Thought  

The Jane Austen News is on the Hunt for Jane fiversIn last week’s Jane Austen News, we said that the four new £5 notes which carry a miniature hidden engraving of Jane Austen on them could be worth, instead of just £5, £20,000! Since then, as more and more people have heard about the engravings, the price tag has more than doubled. The notes are now thought to be worth as much as £50,000!

The Austen engraving is visible to the naked eye but viewers will need a microscope to see it properly. Mr Short, the engraver behind the works, goes to great lengths to create his art on such a minuscule scale. One way he manages to engrave such tiny images is by working late at night – so he can’t hear the rumbling of traffic and be distracted by it. Another even more surprising thing he does in order to make his art, is to wear a stethoscope so he can hear the beating of his own heart. He then works between the beats so he remains perfectly still. Such dedication!


Love & Friendship Seventh Top Film of 2016  

   
Love & Friendship, directed by Whit Stillman and based on Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan (which she wrote at the age of loveetconly 19!), was released to UK cinemas on May 27th this year, and to cinemas around the world shortly afterwards. The film received rave reviews from film critics and Jane Austen fans alike, and it seems that it’s not only die-hard Austen fans who enjoyed it.

Love & Friendship has been named as the seventh best film of 2016 by the Guardian’s film team. It beat some of the most highly anticipated films of the year to get there, such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (26th on the list), and Deadpool (24th on the list). We at the Jane Austen News were delighted with the end film when we got to see it, and are so pleased that other film fans enjoyed it as much as we did.


Austen in Omaha 

Floral cup and saucerOn Saturday the 10th December, the Nebraska chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America, along with the Friends of Omaha Public Library, saw the 13th annual Jane Austen Tea (which they had sponsored) occur with great success at at W. Dale Clark Library in Omaha. Participants were asked to bring their favourite teacups to the event, and the festivities included “light English fare, tea and a talk by Barbara Trout, author of “Reflections of the Regency Period: Dressing with Accessories”.”

Congratulations to the Jane Austen fans in and around Omaha who made it and had a lovely afternoon of tea, book talk, and Jane Austen.


Jane Austen Day This Friday!    

This Friday (Friday the 16th of December) is Jane Austen’s birthday, and is also Jane Austen Day – a day dedicated to celebrating her life and achievements, and to telling as many people as possible about her amazing works.Jane Austen waxwork

This year marks 241 years since her birth in Steventon in Hampshire in England, and we’d love to hear from you if you’re doing anything to mark Jane Austen day. These are a few of our suggestions:

  • Watch your favourite Austen adaptation.
  • Wear Regency costume for the day (or maybe carry a reticule instead of a handbag for the day?).
  • Go for a long walk in the countryside (weather permitting…).
  • Sit by the fire and drink a glass of wine! This was after all one of Jane’s favourite pastimes.

Let us know what you’re up to, and happy Jane Austen Day!


Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop.

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Jane Austen News – Issue 45

Jane Austen News

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?  

Wentworth Woodhouse to be Restored    

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-11-41-51Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond has come under fire recently after he announced in his autumn statement that he is going to give £7.6m of the budget towards repairing a huge Grade I-listed building called Wentworth Woodhouse. He claims that he will be saving a stately home that inspired Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but these claims have been rubbished by the Jane Austen Society.

Hammond told MPs that the grand house in Rotherham: “is said to be the inspiration for Pemberley in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.” Chatsworth House in Derbyshire has a similar claim and is one house which there is evidence of Jane Austen visiting (two years before Pride and Prejudice was published, though after she wrote what is thought to be the first draft in the form of First Impressions).

In a statement to the Guardian, the Jane Austen Society said there is no evidence Austen ever went to the Wentworth Woodhouse, or that Fitzwilliam Darcy could have afforded to live there. It is Europe’s largest private home, sits on 82 acres of land and has over 350 rooms. It took 25 years to build in the 1700s and at one time employed 1,000 staff, including a bear keeper and a “state bed maker”! It would have been costly to own and run indeed!

It is thought that once restored over the course of the next fifteen years, and with a total cost of around £42m, it may become a National Trust property.

Whether it has a Jane Austen connection or not (its name certainly provides surnames for two of Jane’s main characters and was owned by an Earl Fitzwilliam at the time Jane knew of it), it is an incredible building!


Jane at Sothebys  

       
For those with deep pockets and a love of Jane Austen, Sotheby’s upcoming auction; English Literature, History, Children’sscreen-shot-2016-11-28-at-11-32-33
Books and Illustrations
might be worth having a look at. Scheduled to take place on Tuesday December the 13th, the auction sees not only items such as one of the six handwritten manuscript copies of J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard going up for sale, but a significant number of items from Jane’s life as well.

Included in the sale are;

– A vividly descriptive letter to her sister Cassandra, describing the details of her daily life, and estimated to fetch between £40,000-£60,000!

– To mark 200 years since its first publication, a first edition copy of Emma. (Estimated at £8000-£12,000).

– Jane Austen’s bibliocatch (cup-and-ball game). She has been said to have been able to successfully catch the ball 200 times in a row!

– And Anna Lefroy’s manuscript continuation of her aunt’s final unfinished novel, Sanditon.


Dementia Friendly Classics

detail_2x_1477525691-3493The Jane Austen News came across a new publishing company this week called Dovetale press, who have started to publish some of the world’s best-loved classics but in a dementia-friendly format. The books released so far have included adaptations of one of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, and a selection of poetry called Poetry for the Restless Heart.

Dr Rimkeit, a psycho-geriatrician and co-founder of Dovetale Press explained that;

It’s about helping people re-discover the joy of doing something they once loved, especially those who have been avid readers. People living with dementia, even severe dementia, maintain a sophisticated command and appreciation of language… Readers enjoyed the original style and rhythm, and didn’t want the text oversimplified like a children’s book, which can be demeaning

The Jane Austen News hopes that maybe soon the New Zealand based publisher might do a dementia friendly version of one or two Austen classics…


Unusual Adaptations and Spin Offs       screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-11-43-44

There’s never a shortage of new Jane Austen adaptations and spin-offs, but this week the Jane Austen News came across a
couple with some of the most unusual titles we’ve ever seen.

Mr Darcy’s Mail Order Bride by J. Dawn King sees a Pride and Prejudice variation set in 1869 in the Wild West:

When lonely Charles Bingley convinces his good friend, Will Darcy, to write a letter offering marriage to Miss Jane Bennet, she likewise convinces her sister, Elizabeth, to pen the reply. Elizabeth is struck by the beauty of the letter and responds by opening her heart to the Oregon wordsmith, who she believes to be Mr. Bingley. It’s love at first letter—for both the couples. Misunderstandings and bad impressions abound as the true identities of the authors are discovered.

The other title released this week is Darcy Swipes Left by Jane Austen and Courtney Carbone, which places Pride and Prejudice alongside smartphones and dating apps:

Imagine: What if Lizzy Bennet and Mr. Darcy had smartphones and dated IRL (in real life)? A classic is reborn in this clever adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice!

Don’t miss: Lydia taking selfies with soldiers, Mrs. Bennet’s humble-brag status updates, Lizzy texting from her long walks, and Darcy swiping left on a dance card app.

Certainly Pride and Prejudice in texting speech is not one variation we thought we’d see…


Celebrating Jane Austen Day   
imageresizer-29On December 16th, Jane Austen’s birthday, we will be celebrating Jane Austen Day once more. In the past we’ve gone out and asked members of the public what Jane Austen means to them, and spread the word that it is Jane Austen Day, and perhaps it might be a good day to pick up one of her novels and rediscover her. It’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate her novels, her life, and to promote her in the hope that more people will pick up a copy of Persuasion, or Pride and Prejudice, or, maybe, just maybe, her entire collection!
This year though we’re asking you what you’d like to see. Would you like us to show you some of the places in Bath which feature in her novels? Would our costumed guides sharing their favourite quotes with you be a nice way to celebrate? What would be a nice way for us to mark her birthday? Also, if you’re doing something special to celebrate we’d love to hear about it. Let us know!

Jane Austen Day with Charlotte

Jane Austen News is our weekly compilation of stories about or related to Jane Austen. Here we will feature a variety of items, including craft tutorials, reviews, news stories, articles and photos from around the world. If you’d like to include your story, please contact us with a press release or summary, along with a link. You can also submit unique articles for publication in our Jane Austen Online Magazine.

Don’t miss our latest news – become a Jane Austen Member and receive a digest of stories, articles and news every week. You will also be able to access our online Magazine with over 1000 articles, test your knowledge with our weekly quiz and get offers on our Online Giftshop. Plus new members get an exclusive 10% off voucher to use in the Online Giftshop.