Fanny Fitzwilliam Palmer Austen

January 8, 2013 at 7:28 am (books, diaries, history, jane austen, people, research) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

As readers will know from my earlier discussion of Deborah Kaplan’s Jane Austen Among Women, the book gives a wealth of information about the female relatives and neighbors of the Austen family – for my purposes, Eliza Chute and her sister-in-law Mary Bramston; Eliza’s mother Sarah Smith; and Eliza’s bosom friend Eliza Gosling. But re-reading the book after MANY years, I am drawn even more into the Austen family — young Fanny Knight; her governesses Miss Chapman and Miss Sharp; and a brief mention of Uncle Charles’ Bermuda-born wife Fanny Palmer.

It sinks in today, seeing her listing at Stanford, that Fanny’s middle name was Fitzwilliam…. Indeed… (Le Faye, of course, does mention that fact).

I did a little looking around, for there is mention of letters at the Morgan Library — one place I would be able to visit if the Leon Levy Fellowship at CUNY came through! Here’s an image of Fanny Palmer Austen from the blog Mansfield Park: Thoughts on Jane Austen’s Novel:

fanny palmerMiss Sneyd’s wonderful post is entitled the Fanny Hall of Fame (do read all the parts; & intro, too); indeed, I could add a Fanny or two myself! Miss Sneyd handily includes Fanny Palmer’s link at the peerage dot com; here she is at Stanford. Ellen Moody touches on Fanny’s death (and “colonial” relations in general).

As to the Pierpont Morgan Library; it took a while, but there finally were Fanny Austen’s few letters. They exist at the Morgan thanks to a bequest by Gordon N. Ray — the same source as the Walter Scott novels illustrated by the Compton siblings! The letters date from the period 1810-1814.

Readers all joke, So Little Time, So Many Books – in research the same holds, but distance and money are factors harder to overcome than simple lack of time. Someday…

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Austen’s Watsons at Auction – July 14th

July 13, 2011 at 5:15 pm (books, news, people) (, , , , )

Have you ever wanted to OWN your own Jane Austen manuscript?

The Watsons, an unfinished Austen manuscript, goes on the block tomorrow at Sotheby’s. Read The Guardian‘s article on the sale here. The Wall Street Journal has a picture of one manuscript page! (And some interesting text.)

Ah, it just kills me to read of the manuscript currently existing in two separate places (NYC’s Morgan museum owns the first 12 pages – sold off by the family-member owner during World War I); and even worse, the notice that some pages disappeared while it was in the custody of the University of London!

But was a FASCINATING thing to read about Austen making her paper into booklets — indeed mirroring a BOOK:

“… the manuscript has 68 pages – hand-trimmed by Austen – which have been split up into 11 booklets. …. Austen took a piece of paper, cut it in two and then folded over each half to make eight-page booklets. Then she would write, small neat handwriting leaving little room for corrections – of which there are many. ‘You can really see the mind at work with all the corrections and revisions,’ said Heaton. At one stage she crosses so much out that she starts a page again and pins it in. It seems, in Austen’s mind, her manuscript had to look like a book.”

I hate to say, looking at the page image: she left a LOT of room for corrections! Quite a neat thing to see.

Sotheby’s is estimating it will sell for £200,000-300,000. How Jane herself would have enjoyed that kind of money!

 

Read the “catalogue notes & provenance” section – the Morgan paid only a little over £317!

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