The New Jane Austen Portrait using source material and forensic methods Introduction: Forensic Artist Melissa Dring In 2001, Melissa Dring* was commissioned by David Baldock, the Director of the Jane Austen Centre, Bath, to produce a new portrait of the author, as she might have appeared during her time in Bath, 1801-06. Combining the insights of the professional portrait painter with those of the police forensic artist, Melissa was uniquely qualified to accept this challenge. David Baldock had heard of her work on a speculative likeness of the Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi. A film producer, wanting a likeness to use as a casting aid for a proposed film biography of the composer, and feeling it was a job for a forensic artist, had approached Scotland Yard, who recommended Melissa. The difficulty with both commissions was their shared lack of reliable contemporary portraiture, although a wealth of written eye-witness accounts survive in both cases. Melissa Takes up the story… My new speculative likeness of Jane Austen fills the gap left by the paucity of authenticated representations of the author. As I hope it will come to be accepted as a good portrait of her, despite being made 185 years after her death, I will describe the research and working methods I used, so that it can be seen how it is based almost entirely on solid fact, and how little guesswork was needed. There is a tiny pencil and watercolour sketch of her, in the National Portrait Gallery in London, by (more…)
By Heather Clarke
Did Governor Phillip meet Jane Austen in Bath? It is quite possible.
Arthur Phillip retired to Bath in 1793 to recover his health after five years as the governor of the colony of New South Wales. While on occasions he was obliged to live elsewhere, the elegant city of Bath continued to be his favoured place of residence for the rest his life.
Jane Austen first visited Bath in 1797 and dwelt there with her family between 1801 and 1806.
Bath was at the cultural heart of Georgian and Regency society. The most fashionable people flocked to Bath in the season to enjoy the curative powers of the mineral waters and to consort with the fine company gathered there. Central to this were the splendid Assembly Rooms, “the most noble and elegant of any in the kingdom”2. Together with card-playing and concert-going, dancing was a key element to the experience. Dances were held every night, with at least two balls given each week during the season. These enchanting affairs were presided over by a master of ceremonies with the strictest decorum; however, the dances themselves encouraged a certain degree of flirtation. Balls began with minuets, followed by country dances, cotillions and reels.
Both Governor Phillip and Jane Austen are known to have attended balls – did their paths cross? They certainly would have danced the same fashionable dances of the season. Every year collections of the latest dances were published; these invariably bore the inscription As they are performed at Court, Bath, and all Public Assemblies, highlighting the pre-eminence of Bath and the significance of dance in genteel society.
Comparing the lives and places Arthur and Jane frequented, it is clear they both trod in the same places, moved in similar circles and perhaps had a number of mutual acquaintances.
Although Phillip was mostly not a permanent resident in Bath at the same time as Jane (1801-1806), he did spend a considerable amount of time there and upon retiring in 1805 purchased “a large and commodious house at No 19 Bennett Street”. As befitted a person of Phillip’s standing, this was situated in one of the most prestigious areas of the city, a handsome new Georgian dwelling, just above the Assembly Rooms.
Elle Interviews Adrian Lukis
On a lovely sunny day, we were making the new Jane Austen Centre film with Adrian when during a break we took the opportunity to grab a few minutes to interview the ex Mr. Wickham.
You will see for yourself that Adrian is such a charming gentleman.
“I love playing cads. They’re more interesting and so many of them seem to have a special kind of power and aura about them.”
Adrian Lukis ought to know. With his dark good looks and easy charm, he has often been cast in the role of attractive rogue or upper-class bounder. “He has charm in spades,” wrote Dominic Cavendish in the Daily Telegraph in a 2000 review of Lukis’s performance of Beach Wedding at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton.
Adrian Lukis, born in 28th March 1957 in Birmingham, is an actor who has appeared regularly in British television drama since the late 1980s. He trained at Drama Studio London. His most recent notable appearances have been as Sergeant Douglas ‘Doug’ Wright in the Police drama series The Bill, and as Marc Thompson in the BBC legal drama Judge John Deed.
He was a regular, playing Dr David Shearer, in Peak Practice between 1997-99. He also played Mr. George Wickham in the BBC’s 1995 adaption of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Adrian had appeared in the ITV1 one-off drama Back Home and in the BBC rural drama series Down to Earth.
He had previously appeared in The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes (as Bennett in The Creeping Man), Maigret, Miss Marple and Prime Suspect. Adrian Lukis played Simon Avery in Silent Witness Series 15 Episode 2, Death Has No Dominion.
He is currently appearing as Carter in Bull at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
Lukis is descended from the Channel Islands archaeologist Frederick Lukis.