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Jane Austen News – Issue 58

The Jane Austen News is Darcy in Italy

What’s the Jane Austen News this week?   

Pride and Prejudice is the Bishops’ Pick     

A television channel owned by Italy’s conference of bishops and endorsed by the Pope is to broadcast BBC shows for the first time. Among the nine period dramas it has chosen to show are the BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice adaptation, which considering the fact that it has that wet shirt scene in it, which has left women weak at the knees for years, it might not be quite the safe and genteel choice they think it is.

Usually TV2000, the name of the Roman Catholic station which is also known as “the Italian Church’s TV”, shows in a typical day’s schedule broadcasts of Holy Mass and the Holy Rosary from Lourdes, with occasional showings of Doris Day films.

Other programmes the channel has signed up for are adaptations of Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South, The Paradise, and Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals.

They’ve also asked for the 2008 version of Sense and Sensibility. However this adaptation was criticised after its original airing by the Jane Austen Society for “sexing up the story” by opening with a scene in which John Willoughby seduces a 15-year-old girl. Hopefully this won’t take away the bishops’ seal of approval from Jane Austen adaptations, which was also given to (through their purchase of) a 2009 version of Emma, starring Romola Garai, and a BBC feature film, Miss Austen Regrets, which charts the author’s later years.

Winning Illustrator Chosen 

Darya Shnykina has been selected as the winner of The Folio Society’s 2017 competition to see who will illustrate The Folio Society edition of Mansfield Park. Darya, who is a student of the Moscow State University of Printing Arts, was one of 23 illustrators who were selected for the longlist of finalists. This year the entrants were asked to submit three illustrations and a binding design for Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. The new edition, featuring illustrations by the winner, will be published by The Folio Society in October 2017.

Darya was presented with the prestigious commission, worth £5,000, by eminent historian Lucy Worsley during a ceremony at House of Illustration on Thursday 23 February. The rest of the shortlist, who each receive a £500 prize, are; Natasa Ilincic (Italy), Katie Ponder (UK), Meizhen Xu (Germany), Alexandru Savescu (Romania) and Pedro Silmon (UK). The winner of the first ever Visitors’ Choice Award, which saw over 1,500 people voting, was Katie Ponder.

Darya did the perfect cover: fitting in beautifully with the rest of the series, charming to look at, clever with the layering, and bold. But we were equally charmed by her illustrations for inside which managed to suggest character and some of the powerful feelings in the novel, like anger and disappointment.

Lucy Worsley

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The Regency Spa: Create Your Own Bath Salts

The Regency Spa: Create Your Own Bath Salts

Throughout history, physicians have touted the health claims of various “Waters” and have advised their patients to immerse or ingest from numerous wells around the globe. While no one has yet discovered the proverbial “Fount of Youth”, it is true that the ancient healers were on to something. Cities, such as Bath and Tunbridge Wells often sprang up around “curative” springs, each boasting it’s own brand of health and happiness.

A painting of the well building in 1795

One such spring was discovered in Epsom and was so restorative that enterprising businessmen began selling the mineral deposits found there for use at home. The result? Epsom salts. Though not a salt in the sense of table salt, they are called so for their salt like appearance and are actually composed of Magnesium sulfate (or magnesium sulphate) an inorganic salt (chemical compound) containing magnesium, sulfur and oxygen, with the formula MgSO4. The salt was produced from the springs that arise where the porous chalk of the North Downs meets non-porous London clay. Epsom salt has been traditionally used as a component of bath salts. Epsom salt can also be used as a beauty product. Athletes use it to soothe sore muscles, while gardeners use it to improve crops. It has a variety of other uses. Epsom salt is also effective in the removal of splinters.

It is on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, the most important medications needed in a basic health system.

Home made bath salts can be a lovely gift. Image by Misty Kelly, with permission from Photobucket.
Home made bath salts can be a lovely gift. Image by Misty Kelly, with permission from Photobucket.

To make your own bath salts and enjoy a relaxing soak (preferably with a good novel) you will need equal parts coarse grained salt and Epsom salts (found for pennies at your pharmacy.)

If using 1 cup of each, you might also want to add 1 tsp of your favorite essential oil or finely ground herbs like lavender or rose petals.

Mix thoroughly (a few drops of food coloring make it pretty when packaged) and store in an air tight container.

Use 1/4 cup in a warm or hot bath to imitate a soak in the hot springs. The benefits, from shinier hair to relaxed muscles, are to numerous to list.