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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.

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George Stubbs

stubbsGeorge Stubbs (25 August 1724 – 10 July 1806) was an English painter, best known for his paintings of horses.

Stubbs was born in Liverpool, the son of a currier and leather merchant. Information on his life up to age thirty-five is sparse, relying almost entirely on notes made by fellow artist Ozias Humphry (himself famous for his portrait of Edward Austen-Leigh, as well as the Rice Portrait) towards the end of Stubbs’s life. Stubbs worked at his father’s trade until he was 15 or 16, and after his father’s death in 1741 was briefly apprenticed to a Lancashire painter and engraver named Hamlet Winstanley. He soon left as he objected to the work of copying to which he was set. Thereafter as an artist he was self-taught. In the 1740s he worked as a portrait painter in the North of England and from about 1745 to 1751 he studied human anatomy at York County Hospital. He had had a passion for anatomy from his childhood, and one of his earliest surviving works is a set of illustrations for a textbook on midwifery which was published in 1751.

In 1754 Stubbs visited Italy. Forty years later he told Ozias Humphry that his motive for going to Italy was, “to convince himself that nature was and is always superior to art whether Greek or Roman, and having renewed this conviction he immediately resolved upon returning home”. In 1756 he rented a farmhouse in the village of Horkstow, Lincolnshire, and spent 18 months dissecting horses, assisted by his common-law wife, Mary Spencer. He moved to London in about 1759 and in 1766 published The anatomy of the Horse. The original drawings are now in the collection of the Royal Academy.

Mares and Foals in a Landscape. 1763-68.
Mares and Foals in a Landscape. 1763-68.

Even before his book was published, Stubbs’s drawings were seen by leading aristocratic patrons, who recognised that his work was more accurate than that of earlier horse painters such as James Seymour, Peter Tillemans and John Wootton. In 1759 the 3rd Duke of Richmond commissioned three large pictures from him, and his career was soon secure. By 1763 he had produced works for several more dukes and other lords and was able to buy a house in Marylebone, a fashionable part of London, where he lived for the rest of his life.

Whistlejacket by George Stubbs (1724–1806) circa 1762
Whistlejacket by George Stubbs (1724–1806) circa 1762

His most famous work is probably Whistlejacket, a painting of a prancing horse commissioned by the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, which is now in the National Gallery in London. This and two other paintings carried out for Rockingham break with convention in having plain backgrounds. Throughout the 1760s he produced a wide range of individual and group portraits of horses, sometimes accompanied by hounds. He often painted horses with their grooms, whom he always painted as individuals. Meanwhile he also continued to accept commissions for portraits of people, including some group portraits. From 1761 to 1776 he exhibited at the Society of Artists, but in 1775 he switched his allegiance to the recently founded but already more prestigious Royal Academy.

A Lion Attacking a Horse, oil on canvas, 1770, by Stubbs. Yale University Art Gallery
A Lion Attacking a Horse, oil on canvas, 1770, by Stubbs. Yale University Art Gallery

Stubbs also painted more exotic animals including lions, tigers, giraffes, monkeys, and rhinoceroses, which he was able to observe in private menageries. He became preoccupied with the theme of a wild horse threatened by a lion and produced several variations on this theme. These and other works became well known at the time through engravings of Stubbs’s work, which appeared in increasing numbers in the 1770s and 1780s.

George IV when Prince of Wales, 1791
George IV when Prince of Wales, 1791

Stubbs also painted historical pictures, but these are much less well regarded. From the late 1760s he produced some work on enamel. In the 1770s Josiah Wedgwood developed a new and larger type of enamel panel at Stubbs’s request. Stubbs hoped to achieve commercial success with his paintings in enamel, but the venture left him in debt. Also in the 1770s he painted single portraits of dogs for the first time, while also receiving an increasing number of commissions to paint hunts with their packs of hounds. He remained active into his old age. In the 1780s he produced a pastoral series called Haymakers and Reapers, and in the early 1790s he enjoyed the patronage of the Prince of Wales, whom he painted on horseback in 1791. His last project, begun in 1795, was A comparative anatomical exposition of the structure of the human body with that of a tiger and a common fowl, fifteen engravings from which appeared between 1804 and 1806. The project was left unfinished upon Stubbs’s death at the age of 81 on 10 July 1806, in London.

Stubbs’s son George Townly Stubbs was an engraver and printmaker.


From Wikipedia.com