Jane Austen’s Drawing-room Wall

May 6, 2019 at 12:02 pm (history, jane austen) (, )

Looking for something TOTALLY different, I stumbled upon news (and new news at that!) of a “small chunk” of the drawing-room wall of Chawton Cottage, from the period of Jane Austen’s habitation, returning to Chawton.

JA notice

Click on the photo or the link to be taken to the website for Jane Austen’s House Museum.

cushion_austen

Like the blog writer, who recounts two tales of “collected objects” – at a Normandy cathedral work site and via a flatmate with a fondness for nicking restaurant plates, I can add a tale of my own. My found object was a piece of Hampshire flint. Likewise from a bit of a demolition (within my landlady’s back garden). Unlike Jane Austen’s chunk of drawing-room wall, which has a provenance as well as a new acrylic jacket, my little piece of flint sits on the book shelf, not far from my Jane Austen Books!

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Jane Austen Appeal

July 13, 2015 at 12:11 pm (history, jane austen, news) (, , , )

A friend in the UK sent me a newspaper clipping. Honestly, it had me shaking my head – not up-and-down, but side-to-side.

I have always been frugal; never more so than now. But am I the only one who grows a bit disgusted at the prices some items fetch? The newest is a letter – not a new discovery, but on the market – written by Cassandra Austen, to her niece Fanny Knight, about the death of Jane Austen.

cassandra Austen silhouette

The “asking” price is £30,000!

Surely, in the UK, that must buy a CAR (and a pretty nice one, I would think); it used to buy a house.

I work with letters exactly like this. I’ve even handled a couple written by Cassandra Austen. Such exorbitant pricing means this is one letter that will NEVER turn up in a pile of letters at the Hampshire Record Office. Where does the insanity end?

The email, with the newspaper clipping, came yesterday – and I was still thinking about this today. Wouldn’t it have been nice for the owner to donate the letter?

I’m glad the museum seems on target for their goal. No one knows better than me the angst of something that you’re so close to having – and then some glitch and … zip … someone ELSE gets to call it theirs (long story). But there’s also greed – which leaves me, as I began, shaking my head.

cassandra letter

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Jane Austen Auction

October 30, 2013 at 7:34 pm (jane austen) (, , , , , )

An update on the James Edward Austen Leigh copy of Memoirs of Jane Austen claims CHAWTON’s JANE AUSTEN’S HOUSE MUSEUM has purchased the book:

edward austen and jane autographs

Their own website, of course, is currently giving “thanks” for donations which helped purchase from singer Kelly Clarkson the Austen Turquoise Ring:

jane austen ring

This item, too, has a family of the Rev. James Austen connection: it once belonged to Edward’s sister (i.e., my Emma’s sister-in-law), Caroline Mary Craven Austen!

Inaugural Swearing In

Former owner of Jane Austen’s Ring, Kelly Clarkson was not allowed to export the ring from the UK.

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Rick Steves meets Jane Austen?!

June 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm (entertainment, estates, jasna, news, people, places, travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Yep, that’s the scoop! Direct from Cheryl Kinney at JASNA AGM central:

Dear All,

Thought you might enjoy this notice from the “Travel with Rick Steves” show!
 
We will be airing Rick’s interview with Andrew Davies about Jane Austen on the June 11/12 edition of Travel with Rick Steves.  The show will also include interviews with writer Bill Bryson (about his latest book, “At Home: A Short History of Private Life”) and with London tour guide Britt Lonsdale about enjoying afternoon tea in England.

We will be adding a link on our radio website to JASNA, and also providing details about the society’s October annual meeting.

For a complete list of stations and air times for our show, please see this page of our website: http://www.ricksteves.com/radio/whereitairs.htm

Beginning on June 12, the show will also be available to download any time from our website archives at this page: http://www.ricksteves.com/radio/archive.htm

 
Warmest regards,
Cheryl

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Dash It All–

September 9, 2010 at 8:37 pm (news, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Came across this interesting article from Australia in which Jane Austen’s penmanship, punctuation and pungent sentences come in for a bit of scrutiny. How apropos! Since one thing that is always at the forefront of conducting primary research is contending with handwriting!

Forming the base of the article: The two chapters cut from Persuasion, the only extant manuscript penned by Austen (if we don’t count the copied-out juvenilia).

Having a copy of Modert’s Jane Austen’s Manuscript Letters in Facsimile, I really don’t think Austen’s writing difficult to read (on the other hand imagine if this book had been published with the even better images now possible in the digital age!); and so little cross writing. In fact the quirk of Austen’s letters are those written with much white-space so that the next “layer” of writing comes upside-down, but in between this first “layer” of writing.

Examining actual letters (from the Gosling and Smith families — though I did read a couple written by Cassandra Austen!), you see with what a fine line (ie, a well-sharpened quill) most people wrote. The difference between a dot (period) and a comma often quite difficult to discern. And dashes? Hell! I use them all the time! Who doesn’t?

And if commas are thought of as a “pause” when reading aloud, then many of Austen’s commas make great sense.

If Austen can be described as having a “closely written” hand, then the writer of this article has NEVER read anything written by the likes of young Augusta Smith (aka Augusta Wilder)! Yow!

(The execrable handwriting of the likes of Lady Elizabeth Dickins I won’t even mention…)

I must comment on the comment about underlining: Seeing as I transcribe as closely as possible, I use underlining rather than italicizing. Once, an editor changed the underlined words into italics. Hate to say, but, it just was not the same! And how to include two or even three lines?!? If I remember correctly, one of the editors working with Queen Victoria’s letters kept the original emphasis — one, two or even three underscores — intact. I like to do the same with Emma, Mary and all the rest, too.

  • From Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine, read a graphologist’s thoughts on Jane’s handwriting <broken link; try this link instead>. I see a LOT of the same characteristics in the Smith/Gosling papers.
  • To learn about the “mechanics” of writing in the period of the Quill Pen, see JASNA’s Persuasions On-Line, in an article by Robert Hurford.
  • To see an actual piece of Austen’s writing, there is none better than the British Library’s presentation of her The History of England, with (we must give the artist her due) the fabulous drawings of Cassandra Austen.
  • The BBC and Chawton Cottage (Louise West) in conversation.

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Women’s Work is Never Done

July 8, 2010 at 11:56 pm (a day in the life, books, fashion) (, , , , , , , , )

“Women’s work,” in 19th century parlance, meant their needlework. And thanks to Craig in Australia (who gave me access to some vital library material), I have come across a most fascinating article on this subject — Amy Boyce Osaki’s 1988 article in Winterthur Portfolio (vol. 23, no. 4, winter) entitled “A ‘truly feminine employment’: Sewing and the early nineteenth century Woman.”

Osaki’s study is on the du Pont women of Winterthur (Delaware), but what she says holds equally well for those, like Emma, Mary and their sisters, living in England about the same time as the du Ponts. In fact, there is one letter, at the Essex Record Office, in which Mary traced out the embroidery done on a cap for Charles by her sister Elizabeth.

I am a dab hand myself at embroidery; though some illustrating Osaki’s article are done on impossibly-sheer muslin. Just contemplating the amount of time required to complete such a project boggles the mind! (I once crocheted a German townscape window curtain, using crochet cotton and a OO crochet hook; it took about an hour to complete ONE ROW! It hangs in my upstairs hallway window.)

The Ackermann volumes (see page link at right) are rich in lovely embroidery designs; check them out! Even Augusta Smith (mother and daughter) writes of using thimble, scissors and thread to come up with collars and hems that the du Pont sisters would undoubtedly marvel at. Jane Austen, too, used to embroider during her “free” time…. Her work is on display at Chawton Cottage.

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