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There’s a luscious quote in this post from Exploring London!

As you may have realised (the new £10 banknote anyone?), this month marks 200 years since the death of Jane Austen in Winchester on 18th July, 1817, so to mark the occasion, we’re looking at …

Source: 10 sites of significance in Jane Austen’s London…1. 10 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden… | Exploring London

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Kyra Kramer recently shared this post on Austen Authors. It speaks so poignantly of the loss of Jane Austen that I thought it appropriate to share here with you on the 200th Anniversary of Jane Aus…

Source: 18 July 1817: The Death of Jane Austen, a Guest Post by Kyra Kramer | ReginaJeffers’s Blog


A re-post to commemorate the death of the niece of my several times removed grandfather Theophilus Leigh. On this day in 1817, Jane Austen, daughter of Cassandra Leigh and George Austen, died in Winchester from what has at different times been thought to be cancer, tuberculosis and Addison’s Disease. The latest suggestion is arsenic poisoning. Enjoy this showing of her humour.

Forget the shy, retiring Jane Austen — we have her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh’s memoir of his aunt to blame for that idea — here is an extract from a letter she wrote from Steventon to …

Source: First Night Design | Jane Austen Gets Drunk | First Night Design

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Apples And Pears In A Hallway Framed Print from Fine Art America

The photograph I used as my starting point was taken a year ago at an erstwhile (and that’s another story to be told when I’m ready) friend’s hallway. I threw together a couple of books — vintage copies of Jane Austen’s Emma and Northanger Abbey that I bought from the shop attached to Chawton House in Steventon — a bottle of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey whisky and a wooden ‘bothy’ bowl that I bought from Garden Trading; I’ve since bought several more! The lilies were already on the hall table.

As is my way, I added a couple of textures from Design Cuts and some apples from an image by Leti Kugler at Unsplash.

Oh, I nearly forgot. Some of you might recognise the print on the wall. Yes, it’s Copper Pear.

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America [14 fulfillment centers in 5 countries]
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Jane Austen is known for self-assured heroines and Regency rakes with rapier wits. But according to Mark Canuel, there’s something else the author should be recognized for: her portrayal of the importance of being wrong. Canuel tracks Austen’s novels not as discourses on manners or marriage, but as works of art that render “errors in knowledge and conduct as objectives generally to be…

Source: Jane Austen and the Value of Flaws | JSTOR Daily


Jane Austen died aged forty-one in Winchester, Hampshire on the 18th of July, 1817. Signature from…

Source: On this day: the death of Jane Austen | In Times Gone By…


CassandraAusten-JaneAusten(c.1810)_hiresbloh

1810 sketch of Jane Austen by her sister, Cassandra.

Forget the shy, retiring Jane Austen — we have her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh’s memoir of his aunt to blame for that idea — here is an extract from a letter she wrote from Steventon to her sister Cassandra on 20th November 1800, after attending a ball. Austen liked to have fun. No one who can write so amusingly and with such charming detail about life and society in her books could have led a reclusive life devoid of society.

“I believe I drank too much wine last night at Hurstbourne; I know not how else to account for the shaking of my hand to-day. […] There were very few beauties, and such as there were were not very handsome. Miss Iremonger did not look well, and Mrs. Blount was the only one much admired. She appeared exactly as she did in September, with the same broad face, diamond bandeau, white shoes, pink husband, and fat neck. The two Miss Coxes were there: I traced in one the remains of the vulgar, broad-featured girl who danced at Enham eight years ago; the other is refined into a nice, composed-looking girl, like Catherine Bigg. I looked at Sir Thomas Champneys and thought of poor Rosalie; I looked at his daughter, and thought her a queer animal with a white neck. Mrs. Warren, I was constrained to think, a very fine young woman, which I much regret. She has got rid of some part of her child, and danced away with great activity looking by no means very large. Her husband is ugly enough, uglier even than his cousin John; but he does not look so very old. The Miss Maitlands are both prettyish, very like Anne, with brown skins, large dark eyes, and a good deal of nose. The General has got the gout, and Mrs. Maitland the jaundice. Miss Debary, Susan, and Sally, all in black, but without any stature, made their appearance, and I was as civil to them as their bad breath would allow me.”

As a descendant on her mother’s side (Leigh), it is that same sense of humour I like to think I’ve inherited! My favourite sentence is the last one. But then it’s so hard to choose. Who can resist “She appeared exactly as she did in September, with the same broad face, diamond bandeau, white shoes, pink husband, and fat neck.”?

To read more of her letters, though too many were destroyed by Cassandra before Jane died, visit Letters of Note.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Pippa Rathborne's LAST POST

PART FIVE of ROMANTIC FICTIONS AND CASUALTIES

two sistersbuckAdam Buck, Two Sisters, print, 1796. London.
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Sense and sensibility, reason and passion, love and illusion, neoclassicism and romanticism dancing on the eve of cataclysm.
During the years 1795 to 1797, while the two elder Siddons sisters were engaged in their own danse macabre with Thomas Lawrence, Jane Austen wrote her first draft of the novel that was eventually published in 1811 as Sense and Sensibility.

It should have been the end, the two beautiful girls consumed by passion and disease, but the Tragic Muse had another daughter, only nine years old when her eldest sister died, a child with a name like the peal of golden bells under a blue sky, a tiny Buddha with a ferocious will [1] and eyes that glared like a torch in the night on the charades and vacillations…

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A re-blog from the archive.

First Night Design

International Women's Day 8th MarchInternational Women’s Day 8th March 2014

To mark the day, I am paying tribute to a woman whose influence has been remarkable, whose work has inspired generation after generation, and to whom I just happen to be distantly related!

When I was first introduced to Jane Austen, I found her difficult to read. This was partly because she was labeled a ‘classic’ writer that we had to study at school, along with Dickens and Shakespeare and so forth, and our English teacher was evidently an actress manqué whose renditions rendered us speechless with horror.  I loathed Shakespeare until my parents took me to an RSC production of Twelfth Night with Judi Dench, Richard Pasco and Elizabeth Spriggs.  Immediately I understood what the fuss was about.

My parents introduced me to many artistic delights but the time when they would have urged me to read Austen was a time…

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To mark the day, I am paying tribute to a woman whose influence has been remarkable, whose work has inspired generation after generation, and to whom I just happen to be distantly related!

When I was first introduced to Jane Austen, I found her difficult to read. This was partly because she was labeled a ‘classic’ writer that we had to study at school, along with Dickens and Shakespeare and so forth, and our English teacher was evidently an actress manqué whose renditions rendered us speechless with horror.  I loathed Shakespeare until my parents took me to an RSC production of Twelfth Night with Judi Dench, Richard Pasco and Elizabeth Spriggs.  Immediately I understood what the fuss was about.

My parents introduced me to many artistic delights but the time when they would have urged me to read Austen was a time that the family was wrenched apart by my mother’s manic depression. Perhaps if they’d told me at that time that there was a blood connection, I just might have approached Pride and Prejudice or Mansfield Park a little differently. I don’t know. As it was, I didn’t read Jane Austen for myself until my late teens, at which point I fell utterly and completely in love with all her work and everything about her.

One of the best books I’ve read about Jane Austen is a fascinating volume by Fay Weldon, Letters to Alice in which she casts fresh eyes upon Jane’s work through a series of letters to her niece. She debunks the myths and pours scorn on some of the theories that have grown up around the name and the work.  Weldon does this with humour that matches Jane’s. It is well worth reading.

As for the blood connection, I didn’t learn about that until the late ’80s, early 90s.  I’d known forever that Leigh was a maternal family name but not where it came from, only that my mother had chosen it for her stage name when someone told her that she would never see her name in lights with the number of syllables contained in ‘Benedicta Hoskyns’! I also knew of several forebears whose middle names included Leigh and others whose surname was Leigh. If you know your Austen, you will know where I’m heading! When I did some research, I discovered exactly how we were related to Jane. Even my mother didn’t know the details.

frontis-tb

Jane’s mother was Cassandra Leigh. Cassandra’s father, Thomas, was part of the Leigh family of Adlestrop, Gloucestershire. He had a pugnacious brother, Jane’s great-uncle, Theophilus Leigh (1693-1784), who was Master of Balliol for more than 50 years and known for ‘overflowing with puns and witticisms and sharp retorts‘. These are the words of Jane’s brothers’ descendants, William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh in Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters, which was published in 1913 as an updated follow-up to Jane’s nephew, James Edward Austen Leigh’s memoir — A Memoir of Jane Austen: and Other Family Recollections — from 1870. These two later Austens go on to say that Theophilus’ ‘most serious joke was his practical one of living much longer than had been expected or intended’!

So where do I come in?  Theo, as I feel I can call him — somehow I doubt that was ever the case in his lifetime! — had several children, one of whom, Mary, went on to marry Sir Hungerford Hoskyns, 4th Baronet.  I come down from there but I won’t bore you with the details! To cut a long story short, Jane Austen’s great-uncle was my great-grandfather seven times removed — or near enough!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

 

 


A Small Press Life

Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775.

“Nothing ever fatigues me, but doing what I do not like.”-Jane Austen

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