Sunday, June 15, 2008

Jane, Jane, Jane

Is this a portrait of Jane Austen? If so, it was taken just a few years before her death at age 43 in 1817.

I like this Jane - she's fashionably dressed and flirtatious - perhaps a likeness taken by someone with a crush on a middle-aged Jane??? I believe it's Jane because the "nose" is there, and those "fine eyes." Even in this miniature, her personality comes sparkling through.

This is the very important, recently recognised, 19th Century Portrait of Jane Austen, painted in 1815 and discovered in the exceptional "Liber Amicorum" (Friendship Book) belonging to the Rev. James Stanier Clarke, the Librarian of the Prince Regent (later King George IV of Great Britain and Ireland). Clarke was a competent, if amateur, watercolourist whom Jane Austen acknowledged as her friend in the last letter she wrote to him in 1816. Detailed and solid evidence of the Book and the Watercolour has been published in "James Stanier Clarke and his Watercolour Portrait of Jane Austen" by Richard James Wheeler and is available.

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