Jane Austen on Display

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26 August 2021
27 September 2021

There is a unique chance to see the only widely accepted depiction of Jane Austen (1775 to 1817) outside London, when the sketch of the novelist by her sister Cassandra is generously lent to the Holburne Museum by the National Portrait Gallery.

Jane Austen is one of the most beloved writers in English literature, responsible for classics such as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. A resident of Bath between 1801 and 1806, she lived across the road from the Holburne at 4 Sydney Place from 1801 until 1804. During this time, she frequently visited Sydney Gardens and attended the public breakfasts and evening galas.

This sketch by her sister Cassandra is the only surviving memento of Austen’s features and the sole widely accepted depiction of her appearance. Although the drawing is undated and unrecorded in the correspondence between the sisters, the sitter’s age and attire suggest a date of around 1810.