Is this a Portrait of Jane Austen?
Until September 2012 this early nineteenth century portrait, above, will be on show to visitors to the Museum. It is here, temporarily on loan, courtesy of Dr. Paula Bryne, who is currently writing a new biography of Jane Austen.
Dr. Bryne, who owns the portrait, is investigating as to whether it really could be a depiction of Jane Austen. Currently, many art history and Austen experts are discussing its virtues, and are deciding if it is another portrait of her. At present there is only one authenticated full-face portrait of Jane Austen, and this is her sister Cassandra’s sketch of her which is in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London, and which you can view by clicking on this link here.
You may have seen a recent BBC documentary about Dr Byrne’s portrait, which was screened on BBC2 on Boxing Day 2011, and so you might be curious to see it “in the flesh”.
We would love to know what you think about it. Could this be a portrait of Jane Austen ? Is this how you envisage she would have looked, or not? We would love to hear your views, and hope that lots of you will come to the museum to see it. Do note that there is a book available at the Museum where you can record your thoughts and comments on the portrait, as we are very interested to know what our visitors think of it. And of course, if you can’t get to the Museum to see it, you can always leave your comments here.