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Originally posted on Current Projects:

By Keira Mckee

An important stage in the treatment of any object is for the conservator to thoroughly assess the object “as is” before any work gets underway, if any work is in fact needed. In the books conservation department, we fill out a condition and treatment report that documents the exact condition of a book, when received by the conservator, identifying all issues that may require attention. As times goes on, all work will also be logged in this same document so that a thorough report can go back with the book to the owner, and possibly inform future treatments if another conservator works with the book in the future.

I was asked by David Dorning to create a condition report for the sample of Jane Austen handwriting that the department has been commissioned to treat. You can read about the project here.

The full condition report is…

View original 327 more words

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JARW68-cover

New issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World!

The March/April 2014 issue [No. 68] of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine is now published and will be mailed to subscribers this week.  In it you can read about:

  • William Beckford, the remarkable author and architect who led a somewhat sordid life
  • Joanna Trollope on her rewriting of Sense & Sensibility for HarperCollins’s Austen Project
  • Mary Russell Mitford, the writer who sought to emulate Jane Austen
  • How Jane Austen supported her fellow writers by subscribing to their books
  • The story of Julie Klassen, marketing assistant turned best-selling Regency romance novelist

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Plus: News, Letters, Book Reviews and information from Jane Austen Societies in the US and the UK.

And: Test your knowledge with our exclusive Jane Austen quiz, and read about the shocking behaviour of our latest Regency Rogue

You should subscribe! Make sure that you are among the first to read all the news from Jane Austen’s Regency Worldhttp://janeaustenmagazine.co.uk/subscribe/

[Images and text from JARW Magazine, with thanks]

c2014 Jane Austen in Vermont

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UPDATE:  new images have been added!*

Gentle Readers:  I welcome again Ron Dunning on a bit of Jane Austen ancestry – the Knight name of Chawton and Godmersham.  We know that Thomas Knight and his wife adopted Edward Austen as a child, and passed on to him the landed estates they had inherited, both Chawton and Godmersham.  The name of the family eventually became Austen-Knight, but Ron shows us here how far back this connection went – one wonders how much Jane Austen would have actually known of this…**

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Knight of Chawton and Godmersham

Presentation of Edward Austen to Thomas and Catherine Knight - wikipedia

Presentation of Edward Austen to Thomas and Catherine Knight – wikipedia

We all know the story of how, in 1779, the 12-year-old Edward Austen charmed Thomas Knight [our Thomas henceforth] of Godmersham, and his newly-married wife Catherine [Knatchbull], when they stopped at Steventon on their bridal tour – so much so that they asked his parents to allow them to take him with them for the rest of the trip. The Knights grew increasingly fond of him, with his sunny and uncomplicated nature, and followed on by inviting him to visit them in Godmersham. When, after a few years, it became apparent that they were unlikely to have any children of their own to inherit their property and fortune, they arranged with the Austens to adopt him, and to give him their surname. There was a family connection – our Thomas Knight and Edward’s father George Austen were second cousins, both descended from John Austen and Jane Atkins.

Thomas Knight, the younger, by Francis Cote – CHL  ~  Catherine Knatchbull Knight, print of portrait by George Romney

Godmersham 1779 - wikipedia

Godmersham 1779 – wikipedia

Transfers of property, fortunes, and surnames were already well established in the Knight Family and make it all very difficult to follow. So I have created the chart below to make it easier for me, and I hope that it helps others too.

So, looking at the chart [see below]:

Chawton House

Chawton House

Beginning on the left, the Knight family had been in possession of the manor of Chawton for some generations. It was inherited  by Dorothy Knight when the male line failed. According to the law of the time, her property, including the title to the estate, became the possession of her husband, Richard Martin. When they produced no children, it passed to Richard’s brother Christopher; when he too died, having remained unmarried, it was inherited by their sister Elizabeth and her two successive husbands. [Note that this line had all changed their name from Martin to Knight, before reaching our Thomas.]

Elizabeth left no children, and the property passed to a second cousin, Thomas Brodnax of Godmersham. In 1727, this Thomas changed his name by Act of Parliament to May, when he inherited property at Rawmere in Sussex from his mother’s childless cousin, Sir Thomas May. Then in 1736, on inheriting the Chawton estate, he changed his name again, to Knight.

Thomas Knight (a.k.a.Brodnax, May) – by Michael Dahl – CHL  ~  Jane Monk, by Michael Dahl

This Thomas Knight and his wife Jane Monk, who was an Austen descendant, produced at least ten children, of whom five were

Edward Austen Knight - austenonly

Edward Austen Knight – austenonly

boys. Only one, our Thomas (the second son of that name), survived childhood. Thomas enjoyed a long life of sixty years, and married Catherine Knatchbull [see portraits above]. When it became clear that they too would remain childless, they chose to adopt the young and affable Edward Austen, whose family were collateral descendants of Thomas’s great-great-grandparents, John and Jane [Atkins] Austen. On his death in 1794, Thomas Knight bequeathed Godmersham to Catherine, and all other properties to Edward; Catherine later moved to Canterbury and gave Edward the Godmersham estate at that time.

Confused? I too struggle to keep it all straight, so hopefully this chart helps.  There is one detail missing, which will necessitate some further research; that is the family connection between the Martin and the Brodnax families, who were said to be second cousins. Once the research is done I’ll amend the chart, but it won’t make any difference to the sequence of surnames and ownership as they are illustrated here.

It’s some time since I last added anything to the Jane Austen’s Family website. It struck me as a good idea to include a pedigree section; this is now the first chart:

knight-estates

It can be found at this link: http://www.janeaustensfamily.co.uk/pedigrees/knight/knight.index.html

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Thank you Ron! – if anyone has any questions [are you all sitting out there scratching your heads??], please ask Ron – he would be happy to answer anything you might put to him…!

Without all these family dynamics and the extensive trading of names and the adoption of Edward Austen, Jane Austen might never have had the chance to live and write at Chawton Cottage  [now the Jane Austen House and Museum]– and where would we all be without those six novels??

Chawton Cottage - astoft.co. uk

Chawton Cottage – astoft.co. uk

* The portraits of the Thomas Knights, Jane Monk, and Catherine Knight are all from Ancestry.com, with thanks to Ron for accessing these. You can read about the portrait artist Michael Dahl here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Dahl

** Ron has answered my question about whether Jane Austen knew about all these family connections:

Everyone – the Knights, Mr and Mrs Austen, Edward – knew incontrovertibly about the peregrinations at least back to the common descent from John and Jane Austen and, no doubt about the Mays too.  It’s inconceivable that they wouldn’t have discussed it all in front of Jane.

Do you have any questions for Ron?

c2014, Jane Austen in Vermont

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Jane Austen on Her Mansfield Park

As we begin celebrating the bicentenary of the publication of Mansfield Park [it was first advertised on May 9, 1814 in The Star], I post here all the references that Jane Austen made in her letters to her third book. My intention for the year ahead is to post about MP’s publishing history and the variety of illustrated and collectible editions. Then a post on Austen’s own “Opinions of Mansfield Park” where she collected and recorded all the comments from family and friends [she also did this for Emma] – she may have called P&P her “own darling Child” – but I think it is “universally acknowledged” that her very own favorite was MP – she seemed most concerned about others’ reactions to it and was discouraged that no review of MP appeared at the time of its publication.  And then I will post on sequels / continuations – not as many as the other works [doesn’t anyone think of Edmund as a romantic Hero? – why hasn’t an oversized sculpture of him been dragged into the Serpentine?], but interesting all the same!  … But first: her own commentary on MP – again, there is that feeling of Austen hovering over my shoulder as I read the letters – if only one could ask the many questions we all have – if you could, what would you ask Jane Austen about Mansfield Park?

References:


1. Austen, Jane.  Jane Austen’s Letters.  3rd ed., edited by Deirdre Le Faye. Oxford, 1997. [I have the 4th edition but alas! it is not with me at present, so I continue to cite the 3rd ed.]
2. _____. Mansfield Park. Introd. Jane Stabler. Oxford, 2008, c2003.
2. Gilson, David. A Bibliography of Jane Austen. Oak Knoll, 1997.

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MP-1sted-titlepage

              Image: Mansfield Park 1st edition, Printed for T. Egerton, 1814.

According to Cassandra Austen’s memorandum with regard to the writing of the novels, Austen was working on Mansfield Park from February 1811, finished soon after June 1813. These early letters make it clear that Cassandra was familiar with the story all along…

  • Ltr. 78 Sunday 24 January 1813 from Chawton to Cassandra at Steventon (p. 198-99)

I learn from Sir J. Carr that there is no Government House at Gibraltar. – I must alter it to the Commissioner’s.  

NOTE:  The Commissioner held a shore-posting, usually as rank of Captain; often given to injured sea officers. He was responsible to the administration of naval accounts at a local level. [MP, Oxford, 410]

John_Carr_1809-wp

Sir John Carr (wikipedia)

Carr is not in the Le Faye index …, but according to Gilson, this is Sir John Carr, author of Descriptive Travels in the Southern and Eastern parts of Spain and the Balearic Isles in the year 1809. (1811) – and what Austen must have read to confirm this information [Gilson, 48]

see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_John_Carr

Austen uses it here:

He [Henry Crawford] honoured the warm–hearted, blunt fondness of the young sailor [William Price], which led him to say, with his hands stretched towards Fanny’s head, “Do you know, I begin to like that queer fashion already, though when I first heard of such things being done in England, I could not believe it; and when Mrs. Brown, and the other women at the Commissioner’s at Gibraltar, appeared in the same trim, I thought they were mad; but Fanny can reconcile me to anything”… [MP, Vol. II, ch. vi]

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In the same letter (78), Austen writes:

As soon as a Whist party was formed & a round Table threatened, I made my Mother an excuse, & came away; leaving just as many for their round Table, as there were at Ms. Grants. – I wish they might be as agreable a set.  

NOTE:  round table = eleven, less 4 for whist, and JA, leaves 6. The round table in MP consisted of Lady Bertram and Edmund, 2 Prices, and 2 Crawfords [Le Faye, 410].

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  • Ltr. 79. Friday 29 January 1813. From Chawton to Cassandra at Steventon (p. 202)

After a rather lengthy paragraph on the publication of Pride and Prejudice, Austen jumps into another topic:

Now I will try to write of something else; – it shall be a complete change of subject – Ordination. I am glad to find your enquiries have ended so well. – If you discover whether Northamptonshire is a Country of Hedgerows, I sh’d be glad again.

NOTE: This line has led early scholars to believe that she was referring to the theme of her newest novel – but if we notice the previous letter’s references to MP, we know that she is nearly half-way through its composition.  Le Faye notes that the “enqueries” no doubt refer to the time necessary for the process of ordination – i.e. how long Edmund Bertram might be kept away from Mansfield Park for this purpose.  Cassandra was then staying with James Austen, and could have provided these details. [Le Faye, 411]

Speed_Northampton-wp

Image: 17th century map of Northamptonshire, by John Speed (wikipedia)

NOTE: The hedgerows reference: Chapman assumed this meant Austen was thinking of using the device in MP she later uses in Persuasion [Anne overhearing the conversation between Capt. Wentworth and Louisa] – Cassandra told her there were no hedgerows in Northamptonshire – but she does use this in MP:

“This is pretty, very pretty,” said Fanny, looking around her as they were thus sitting together one day; “every time I come into this shrubbery I am more struck with its growth and beauty. Three years ago, this was nothing but a rough hedgerow along the upper side of the field, never thought of as anything, or capable of becoming anything;…” [MP, vol. II, ch. IV]

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  • Ltr. 82 Tuesday 16 February 1813. From Chawton to Martha Lloyd [in Kintsbury]. (p. 208).

A reference to her questions about Northamptonshire as in the above letter to Cassandra.

I am obliged to you for your inquiries about Northamptonshire, but do not wish you to renew them, as I am sure of getting the intelligence I want from Henry, to whom I can apply at some convenient moment “sans peur et sans reproche.” [without fear and without reproach]

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  • Ltr.  86. Saturday 3 – Tuesday 6 July 1813. From Chawton to Capt. Francis Austen on the HMS Elephant, Baltic. (p. 217)

    FrancisAusten-wp

    Francis Austen (wikipedia)

Here she refers to MP as not being as entertaining as P&P, and asks her sailor brother if she can mention his Ships:

You will be glad to hear that every Copy of S&S is sold…I have now therefore written myself into £250. – which only makes me long for more. I have something in hand – which I hope on the credit of P. & P. will sell well, tho’ not half so entertaining. And by the bye – shall you object to my mentioning the Elephant in it, & two or three other of your old Ships? – I have done it, but it shall not stay, to make you angry. – They are only just mentioned.

NOTE: the ships mentioned in MP are the Cleopatra, Elephant, and Endymion.

 

HMS_Cleopatra_(1779)-wp
Image: HMS Cleopatra, by Nicholas Pocock (Wikipedia) 

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  • Ltr. 90. Saturday 25 September 1813.  From Godmersham Park To Francis Austen, HMS Elephant, Baltic. (p. 231) 

Where she thanks her brother for permission to use his ships, tells him that the great Secret of her as author is now quite public, and goes on to lay the blame on Henry for telling all!

I thank you very warmly for your kind consent to my application & the kind hint which followed it. – I was previously aware of what I sh’d be laying myself open to – but the truth is that the Secret has spread so far as to be scarcely the Shadow of a secret  now – & that I believe whenever the 3d appears, I shall not even attempt to tell Lies about it. – I shall rather try to make all the Money than all the Mystery I can of it. -  People shall pay for their Knowledge if I can make them…

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  • Ltr. 97. Wednesday 2 – Thursday 3 March 1814. From London (Henrietta St.) to Cassandra in Chawton. (p. 255-56)

Austen is travelling with Henry to London – it is assumed the reading she refers to is the proof-sheets of MP – she is returning to London in hopes of having Egerton publish the book in April.

We did not begin reading till Bentley Green.  Henry’s approbation hitherto is even equal to my wishes; he says it is very different from the other two, but not appear to think it at all inferior. He has only married Mrs. R. I am afraid he has gone through the most entertaining part. – He took to Lady B. & Mrs. N most kindly, & gives great praise to the drawing of the Characters. He understands them all, likes Fanny & I think foresees how it will all be.

 And later:

Henry is going on with Mansfield Park; he admires H. Crawford – I mean properly – as a clever, pleasant Man. – I tell you all the Good I can, as I know how much you will enjoy it…
 Brock2-reading-mollands

Image: “His [Henry Crawford] reading was capital.”  Vol. III, ch. iii.  (Mollands) 

Austen makes reference to a “Frederick” when referring to Christopher (Tilson) Chowne – it has been suggested that perhaps he played the role of Frederick in Lovers’ Vows at one of many amateur theatricals at Steventon. [Le Faye, 429]

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  • Ltr. 98. Saturday 5 – Tuesday 8 March 1814. From Henrietta St. to Cassandra at Chawton. (p. 258)

Henry has this moment said that he likes my M. P. better & better; – he is in the 3d vol. – I believe now he has changed his mind as to foreseeing the end; – he said yesterday at least that he defied anybody to say whether H. C. would be reformed, or would forget Fanny in a fortnight.  

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  • Ltr. 99. Wednesday 9 March 1814. From Henrietta St. to Cassandra at Chawton. (p. 261)

Henry has finished Mansfield Park. & his approbation has not lessened. He found the last half of the last volume extremely interesting.

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  • Ltr. 100. Monday 21 March 1814. From London (Henrietta St) to Francis Austen ? (p. 262) – fragment only

Perhaps before the end of April, Mansfield park by the author of S&S.– P.&P. may be in the World. Keep the name to yourself. I sh’d not like to have it know beforehand. 

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  • Ltr. 101. Tuesday 14 June 1814. From Chawton to Cassandra in London. (p. 263)  cover-JAClergy

In addition to their [Mr. and Mrs. Cooke] standing claims on me, they admire Mansfield Park exceedingly. Mr. Cooke says “it is the most sensible Novel he ever read” – and the manner in which I treat the Clergy, delights them very much. [Mr. Cooke was Rev. Samuel Cooke]

Image: Jane Austen and the Clergy, by Irene Collins (2004)

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  • Ltr. 102. Thursday 23 Jun 1814. From Chawton to Cassandra in London. (p. 265)

We have called upon Miss Dusautoy & Miss Papillon & been very pretty. – Miss D. has a great idea of being Fanny Price, she & her youngest sister together, who is named Fanny. 

Fanny- Sylvestra-dashwoodblog

Image:  Fanny Price – Sylvestra Le Touzel as Fanny, MP (BBC, 1983)
(Miss Dashwood blog) 

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  • Ltr. 106. Friday 2 September 1814. From London (Henrietta St) to Martha Lloyd in Bath. (p. 274)

Mr. Barlowe is to dine with us today, & I am in some hope of getting Egerton’s account before I go away.

NOTE:  Mr. Barlowe is an employee of Henry’s London bank – she refers here to Egerton’s account of the 1st edition of MP. [Le Faye, 436.]

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  • Ltr. 109. Friday 18-Sunday 20 November 1814. From Chawton to Fanny Knight at Goodnestone Park, Kent. (p. 281)

GoodnestonePark

Image: Goodnestone Park website

You will be glad to hear that the first Edit. of M.P. is all sold. – Your Uncle Henry is rather wanting me to come to Town, to settle about a 2d Edit: – but as I could not very conveniently leave home now, I have written him my Will & pleasure, & unless he still urges it, shall not go. – I am very greedy and want to make the most of it; – but as you are much above caring about money, I shall not plague with my particulars.- The pleasures of Vanity are more within your comprehension, & you will enter into mine, at receiving the praise which every now & then comes to me, through some channel or other.-  

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  • Ltr. 110. Tuesday 22 November 1814. From Chawton to Anna Lefroy in Hendon. (p. 282)

Make everybody at Hendon admire Mansfield Park.- 

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  • Ltr. 111. ?Thursday 24 November 1814. From Chawton to Anna Lefroy in Hendon. (p. 282-83)

Mrs. Creed’s opinion is gone down on my list [i.e. her opinions of MP list]; but fortunately I may excuse myself from entering Mr as my paper only relates to Mansfield Park. I will redeem my credit with him, by writing a close Imitation of “Self-control” as soon as I can; – I will improve upon it… 

Mary Brunton (Wikipedia)

Mary Brunton (Wikipedia)

NOTE: Self-Control was a novel written by Mary Brunton (1811) – Austen refers to it in her letters three times:

Ltr. 72 (p. 186): We have tried to get Self-controul, but in vain.- I should like to know where her Estimate is – but am always half afraid of finding a clever novel too clever – & of finding my own story & my own people all forestalled.

Ltr. 91 (p. 234). I am looking over Self-Control again, & my opinion is confirmed of its’ being an excellently-meant, elegantly-written Work, without anything of Nature or Probability in it. I declare I do not know whether Laura’s passage down the American River, is not the most natural, possible, every-day thing she ever does.

Ltr. 111 (p. 283). I will redeem my credit with him, by writing a close Imitation of “Self-control” as soon as I can; – I will improve upon it; – my Heroine shall not merely be wafted down an American river in a boat by herself, she shall cross the Atlantic in the same way, & never stop till she reaches Gravesent.-

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  • Ltr. 114. 30 November 1814. From London (Hans Place) to Fanny Knight at Godmersham Park, Kent. (p. 287)

Contains one of Austen’s most-quoted lines:

Thank you – but it is not settled yet whether I do hazard a 2d Edition. We are to see Egerton today, when it will probably be determined. – People are more ready to borrow & praise, than to buy – which I cannot wonder at; – but tho’ I like praise as well as anybody, I like what Edward calls Pewter too. 

NOTE: We know that Egerton did not publish this hoped for 2nd edition – Did he refuse? Did he not offer good terms? Or was Jane Austen displeased with Egerton’s printing of the 1st edition? We do not know, but Austen moved to the firm of John Murray to publish her Emma, and Murray took on the 2nd ed of MP, which was published on February 19, 1816.

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John Murray (Wikipedia)

John Murray (Wikipedia)

  • Ltr. 121. Tuesday 17 – Wednessday 18 October 1815. From London (Hans Place)to Cassandra at Chawton. (p. 291)

Mr Murray’s Letter is come; he is a Rogue of course, but a civil one. He offers £450- but wants to have the Copyright of MP. & S&S included. It will end in my publishing for myself I dare say. – He sends more praise however than I expected. It is an amusing Letter. You shall see it. 

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  • Ltr. 122 (A) (D). ?Friday 20 / Saturday 21 October 1815. From Henry Austen in London to John Murray [in
    Henry Austen

    Henry Austen

    London]. (p. 293-94)

I include this letter because it shows Henry’s involvement in his sister’s publishing history – he was very ill at the time and Jane was his nurse.  She was in London at Hans Place to negotiate the publication of Emma, as well as the 2nd ed. of MP… [see my previous post on this letter ] – I just love the line: “great Error in my Arithmetical Calculation”!

[A Letter to Mr. Murray which Henry dictated a few days after his Illness began, & just before the severe Relapse which threw him into such Danger. - ]

Dear Sir

Severe illness has confined me to my Bed ever since I received Yours of ye 15th – I cannot yet hold a pen, & employ an Amuensis [sic]. – The Politeness & Perspicuity of your Letter equally claim my earliest Exertion. – Your official opinion of the Merits of Emma, is very valuable & satisfactory. – Though I venture to differ occasionally from your Critique, yet I assure you the Quantum of your commendation rather exceeds than falls short of the Author’s expectation & my own. – The Terms you offer are so very inferior to what we had expected, that I am apprehensive of having made some great Error in my Arithmetical Calculation. – On the subject of the expense & profit of publishing, you must be much better informed that I am; – but Documents in my possession appear to prove that the Sum offered by you, for the Copyright of Sense & Sensibility, Mansfield Park & Emma, is not equal to the Money which my Sister has actually cleared by one very moderate Edition of Mansfield Park –(You Yourself expressed astonishment that so small an Edit. of such a work should have been sent into the World) & a still smaller one of Sense & Sensibility.- …

Image of Henry Austen: Jasna.org, essay by Kristen Miller Zohn

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  • Ltr.  124. Friday 3 November 1815.  From London (Hans Place) to John Murray. (p. 295)

I mention this letter because it shows how involved Jane Austen was in her own publishing ventures.  Here she writes about Henry being ill, requesting Murray to visit her at Hans Place to discuss Emma – she might have wished to also talk about the 2nd edition of MP – note that the drafted letter above to Murray was actually not sent until after this one; it also has one of my favorite lines from the letters, which I have underlined

Sir

My Brother’s severe Illness has prevented his replying to Yours of Oct. 15, on the subject of the MS of Emma, now in your hands-and as he is, though recovering, still in a state which we are fearful of harrassing by Business & I am at the same time desirous of coming to some decision on the affair in question, I must request the favour of you to call on me here, any day that may suit you best, at any hour in the Evening, or any in the Morning except from Eleven to One. – A short conversation may perhaps do more than much Writing.

My Brother begs his Compts  & best Thanks for your polite attention in supplying him with a Copy of Waterloo.

   I am Sir
Your Ob. Hum: Servt
Jane Austen

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  • Ltr. 125 (A). Thursday 16 November 1815. From James Stanier Clarke (Carlton House) to Jane Austen at Hans Place, London. (p. 296)

I include this because Clarke singles out MP so, which must have gratified her very much! I think Clarke had quite the crush on Jane Austen:

Your late Works, Madam, and in particular Mansfield Park reflect the highest honour on your Genius & your Principles; in every new work your mind seems to increase its energy and powers of discrimination. The Regent has read & admired all your publications…

James_Stanier_Clarke-wp.pg

Image: James Stanier Clarke (wikipedia)

NOTE:  See more on the letters between Austen and Clarke and her visit to Carlton House here: http://janeausteninvermont.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/a-visit-to-carlton-house-november-13-1815/

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  • Ltr. 128. Sunday 26 November 1815. From London (Hans Place) to Cassandra [at Chawton ]. (p. 301)

Mr. H. [Haden] is reading Mansfield Park for the first time & prefers it to P&P.

NOTE:  I think Austen and / or her niece Fanny had a wild crush on Charles Thomas Haden. He was a London surgeon. She calls him ” a sort of wonderful nondescript Creature on two Legs, something between a Man & an Angel” [Le Faye, Ltr. 129, p. 303)

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  • Ltr. 130. Monday 11 December 1815. From London (Hans Place) to John Murray in London. (p. 305)

I return also, Mansfield Park, as ready for a 2d Edit: I believe, as I can make it.

NOTE:  It is unknown whether Austen gave Murray a marked-up copy of the first edition [which had many errors], or she was working from new galleys…

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  • Ltr. 132(D). Monday 11 December 1815. From London (Hans Place) to James Stanier Clarke (London). (p. 306)

I must make use of this opportunity to thank you, dear Sir, for the very high praise you bestow on my other Novels – I am too vain to wish to convince you that you have praised them beyond their Merit.

My greatest anxiety at present is that this 4th work shd not disgrace what was good in the others. … I am very strongly haunted with the idea that to those Readers who have preferred P&P. it will appear inferior in Wit, & to those who have preferred MP. very inferior in good Sense.  

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  • Ltr. 134(A). Wednesday 27 December 1815. From the Countess of Morley at Saltram to Jane Austen at Chawton. (p. 308)

I am already become intimate in the Woodhouse family, & feel that they will not amuse & interest me less than the Bennetts [sic], Bertrams, Norriss & all their admirable predecessors – I can give them no higher praise-

NOTE:  At the time, many believed the Countess of Morley to be the Authoress of both S&S and P&P.

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  • Ltr. 139. Monday 1 April 1816. From Chawton to John Murray in London. (p. 313)

Dear Sir,

   I return you the Quarterly Review with many Thanks. The Authoress of Emma has no reason I think to complain of her treatment in it – except in the total omission of Mansfield Park. – I cannot but be sorry that so clever a Man as the Reveiwer of Emma should consider it as unworthy of being noticed.

This is Austen’s final word on MP in her letters: she is peeved that MP is not mentioned in this anonymous review – we know now this reviewer of Emma was Sir Walter Scott, but did Austen know that?? Recall that she wrote this about him to her niece Anna, tongue in cheek of course, as we know that she liked his work very much:

Sir_Henry_Raeburn_-_Portrait_of_Sir_Walter_Scott-wp

Image: Portrait of Sir Walter Scott, by Henry Raeburn (wikipedia)

Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. – It is not fair. – He has Fame & Profit enough as a Poet, and should not be taking the bread out of other people’s mouths. – I do not like him, & do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it-but fear I must. [Ltr. 108, p. 277]

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CEBrock-MP-beautiful-mollands

Image: C.E. Brock – “Oh, this is beautiful indeed!”
Mansfield Park, Vol. II, ch. ix (Mollands)

Stay tuned for more on Mansfield Park. You might also like to follow Sarah Emsley’s (and guests’) blog posts on MP, which will begin in May: http://sarahemsley.com/2014/01/01/200-years-of-mansfield-park/

And I ask again: if you could, what would you ask Jane Austen about Mansfield Park?

c2014, Jane Austen in Vermont

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Dear Gentle Readers: I welcome today Janine Barchas with her review of the recently published Jane Austen: A New Revelation by Nicholas Ennos – his book tackles the question of who really authored Jane Austen’ s six novels and juvenilia…

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“Conspiracy is the Sincerest Form of Flattery”

Review of Nicholas Ennos, Jane Austen: A New Revelation (Senesino Books, Oct. 2013).  Pp. 372.  £25.  Available from Amazon.com as an e-book for Kindle for $10.99. 

cover-ennos-jarevelation

The litmus test of true literary achievement is whether your works are deemed so great that you simply could not have written them.

Janeites need no longer envy students of Shakespeare their intricate web of Renaissance conspiracy theories.  Whereas Shakespeare scholarship has long enjoyed the spectral presence of the Earl of Oxford, Austen studies can now boast a countess named Eliza de Feuillide.

The self-published Jane Austen: A New Revelation alleges that “a poor, uneducated woman with no experience of sex or marriage” could not possibly have written the sophisticated works of social satire and enduring romance that we traditionally attribute to Jane Austen.  The book’s author, Nicholas Ennos (the aura of conspiracy allows that this is not necessarily his/her real name), asserts that biographers have been leading everyone by the nose.  The true author of the Austen canon is, instead, Madame la Comtesse de Feuillide, born Eliza Hancock (1761-1813).  Eliza was the worldly and well-educated older cousin of Jane Austen who, after being made a young widow by the French Revolution, married Henry Austen, Jane’s favorite brother.  The sassy Eliza has long been pointed to as a model for the morally challenged characters of Lady Susan and Mary Crawford in the fictions.  To identify Eliza as the actual author was, Ennos explains, the next logical step.

shakespeare-1stfolio-haverford

Shakespeare’s First Folio – Haverford.edu

Just so, and also about two centuries into his literary afterlife, William Shakespeare’s lofty literary achievements were judged incompatible with his humble origins, sowing seeds of doubt that a person so little known could have achieved so much.  Slowly, the man named Will Shakespeare from Stratford-upon-Avon came to be considered by a small-but-articulate fringe to be a mere front shielding the genuine author (or authors) of the works written under the pen name of Shakespeare.  Austen’s genteel poverty, relative isolation, and biographical quiet allows for a similar approach.  For how, asks Ennos, can genius thrive with so little food of experience to feed it?

The arguments for Shakespeare reattribution rely heavily upon biographical allusions as well as the absence of works in manuscript.  Similarly, Austen critics who have been keen to spot biographical references to real places and family members in the fictions have apparently opened the door to skeptics who can now point to Cassandra’s “systematic destruction” of her sister’s letters as proof of a conspiracy.  Ennos also draws attention to the “suspicious” parallel fact that no Austen novel survives in manuscript.  The juvenilia, which does survive in Jane’s hand, is explained away as early secretarial work for Eliza during her visits to the Steventon household.

Eliza died in April of 1813, well before the publication of Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), or Persuasion and Northanger Abbey (Dec 1817).  The so-called Oxfordians overcame the timeline obstacles posed by Edward de Vere’s early death in 1604 by redating many Shakespeare texts, which (their logic dictates) must have been composed earlier than previously thought and squirreled away for later publication by an appointed agent.  So too is the Austen corpus deftly redated by Ennos—with husband Henry, cousin Cassandra, and amanuensis Jane as co-conspirators.  Some historians allow that Eliza was in all probability the natural daughter of politician Warren Hastings.  Ennos adds to this existing context of secrecy that Eliza’s illegitimacy was the “disgrace” that the Austens “were determined to cover up after Eliza’s death” and the reason that “the myth of Jane Austen’s authorship was invented.”

Readers of Austen will doubtless need some time to process the implications of these revelations.  For example, what of the presumed poignancy of Persuasion’s temporal setting?  The events in this novel take place during the false peace of the summer of 1814—a short reprieve in the Napoleonic wars that saw the premature return of Britain’s navy men after the initial exile of Napoleon to Elba.  Persuasion has been on record as composed between August 1815 and August 1816, in the full knowledge of both the false hopes of that summer and the true end to the war that came with the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.  Ennos moves the novel’s date of composition prior to April 1813.  Although he does not go so far as to urge Eliza’s historical prescience, he suggests that these features are merely evidence of judicious tweaks to manuscripts left in Henry’s care at Eliza’s death.

Eliza de Feuillide                 Frances Burney                 Jane Austen

This is not all.  Ennos further declares that the precocious Eliza also wrote the novels conventionally attributed to Frances Burney (1752-1840).  The resemblances between Evelina and Pride and Prejudice have long been acknowledged by scholars who have (mistakenly, according to Ennos) attributed this to Burney’s literary influence upon the young Austen.  Ennos reasons that Frances Burney’s lack of literary success after Eliza’s death, including her “truly dreadful” novel The Wanderer in 1814, is evidence of her being, in fact, an imposter.  While future stylometric analysis may eventually confirm that Jane and Fanny were one and the same Eliza, this method has not settled the authorship question irrevocably for Shakespeare.  Perhaps this is why Ennos does not turn to computer analysis or linguistics for help.  He does identify Elizabeth Hamilton, the name of another minor authoress, as a further pseudonym used by the talented Eliza—ever widening the corpus of works that might appeal to those already interested in Austen.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the novels attributed to Jane Austen were published anonymously during her lifetime.  Logically, any book written anonymously must be in want of a conspiracy.   The grassy knoll of this particular conspiracy is the biographical notice in Northanger Abbey, released simultaneously with Persuasion six months after Jane Austen’s death in 1817.  History has taken Henry Austen, a failed banker, at his word in identifying the author as his sister.  Ennos, who is not very gallant towards the species of academics and literary critics whom he dismisses as “simple souls,” suggests that Austen scholarship has been surprisingly gullible in accepting Henry’s attribution without question.

In the wake of the Ireland forgeries of the 1790s, generations of Shakespeare scholars offered dozens of different names for the man behind the mask of “Will Shakespeare.”  Although the Earl of Oxford has garnered Hollywood’s vote, Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe are next in popularity.  We can only hope that these allegations by Ennos prop open the doors of Austen authorship so that additional candidates can step forward to provide generations of graduate students with dissertation fodder.

Does the Eliza attribution theory expect to be taken seriously?  Or does this maverick publication deliberately mock established scholarship by means of cartoonish imitation?  I’m not sure it really matters.  If this project had ambitions to be a serious Sokal-style hoax, then it did not manage to convince a top publisher and, as a result, lacks the ability to wound deeply.  The prose is also too earnest and unadorned for an academic satire—devoid of the jargon that should dutifully accompany a spoof.  The resulting pace is too sluggish for irony.  That said, there are plenty of moments that even David Lodge could not improve upon.  For example, Ennos points to an acrostic “proof” of hidden clues in the dedicatory poem to Evelina (only visible if decoded into Latin abbreviations).  There is also the syllogistic central assertion that if the novels of both Burney and Austen resemble the Latinate style of Tacitus, then these could only have been written by 1) the same person and 2) someone schooled in Latin.  Ergo, Eliza is the true author behind both, since only she could have learned Latin from Reverend George Austen, Jane’s father (who might teach a niece but never his youngest daughter).  Finally, there are gestures towards wider bodies of knowledge: “In this respect the philosophy of both authors has been linked to the views of the Swedish philosopher, Swedenborg.”  Perhaps Ennos is simply angling for someone to buy the movie option.  “Anonymous” did well at the box office, so why not a film dubbed “Eliza”?

No matter what the intention, hearty congratulations are due to Jane Austen.  For her, this news makes for a strong start to the New Year.  Exactly two centuries into her literary afterlife, a doubting Thomas was the last requirement of literary celebrity still missing from her resume.  Austen can now take her seat next to Shakespeare, secure in the knowledge that her authorship, too, has begun to be questioned.

You know you’ve hit the big time when you didn’t write your own work.

– Reviewed by Janine Barchas

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Barchas is the author of Matters of Fact in Jane Austen: History, Location, and Celebrity (Johns Hopkins, 2012).  She is also the creator of “What Jane Saw”, an on-line reconstruction of an art exhibit attended by Jane Austen on 24 May 1813.   Recently, she has written for The New York Times and the Johns Hopkins University Press Blog.

c2014 Jane Austen in Vermont; text c2014 Janine Barchas

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UPDATE: Prices Realized added as available, includes buyer’s premium

There is much going on with Jane Austen and the Auction Block in the next month! – just this past week, Gorringes at their October 23, 2013 Fine Art, Antiques & Collectables auction – Sale LOCT13, had this on offer: Estimate £2,000-3,000.  SOLD for £11,000 !

Gorringes-letter-10-23-13

Lot 1454:

Austen, Jane.  An autograph manuscript fragment, comprising four lines, attached to another leaf bearing authentication, in turn attached to a letter from her nephew, James Edward Austen-Leigh, written on paper bearing watermark date 1868, at Bray Vicarage, February 7, 1870, presenting the fragment to Rev. G. C. Berkeley: ‘Men may get into the habit of repeating the words of our Prayers by rote, perhaps without thoroughly understanding – certainly without thoroughly feeling their full force and meaning.’ All attached to the title page of a copy of Austen-Leigh’s ‘A Memoir of Jane Austen…’ fragment approximately 1.75 x 6in.

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Upcoming auctions:  an abundance of Austen, Austen’s Circle, and Regency-era prints – I include various items because they are too wonderful not to share, but please visit each auction house site to see the “infinite variety” of offerings:

Bloomsbury: 7 November 2013. Library of a Gentleman: Fine Colour Plate, Costume, Travel and Sporting Books. London.

This auction is filled with Ackerman, Rowlandson, Cruickshank, Gillray and others! – here are a few examples, but go have a look at this treasure-trove for a Gentleman OR a Lady!

Lot 1:

AckermannsLondon-bloomsbury-11-7-13

Ackermann’s London – “Billingsgate Market”

Ackermann, (Rudolph). Microcosm of London.

3 vol., first edition, early issue  with several of Abbey’s 12 “key plates” in first state (nos.1, 5, 8, 10, 11 & 18 and possibly 9), lacking half-titles, with wood-engraved pictorial titles, engraved dedication leaves, 104 hand-coloured aquatint plates after Rowlandson and Pugin, offsetting from plates but plates generally clean, some text leaves in vol.1 browned, handsome contemporary diced russia with elaborate gilt borders and cornerpieces, by C.Hering with his ticket, g.e., rebacked preserving old gilt spines, later cloth slip-cases edged in morocco, [Abbey Scenery 212; Tooley 7], 4to,  [1808-10].

Early issue bound from the original parts, watermarked 1806-07 and with all the 13 errata at end of vol.3 uncorrected and the Contents leaf in vol.1 headed “Contents”. However, the imprint of the wood-engraved title to vol.2 does not have a comma after “Bensley” but that in vol.1 does.

Estimate: £3,000 – £5,000; Starting Bid £2,600 – Sold for £4464

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Lot 2:

Agg-Foppish-Bloomsbury-11-7-13

“Foppish Attitudes” from The Busy Body, or Men and Manners

[Agg (John)] The Busy Body, or Men and Manners, edited by Humphrey Hedgehog, vol.1 & 2 only (parts 1-12), 11 hand-coloured aquatint plates by Williams, a little browning and offsetting, later tan calf, gilt, by Rivière & Son, spines gilt, g.e., spines chipped at head, joints split with covers becoming loose, 8vo, J.Johnston, 1816-17.

Estimate £200 – £300; starting Bid £180  – Sold for £211

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Lot 3:

DrivingDiscoveries-Bloomsbury-11-7-13

“Driving Discoveries”

[Alken (Henry)] – the set of 7 hand-coloured etchings by Henry Alken, very slight marginal soiling, bookplates of William Henry Smith, Viscount Hambleden and George Seton Veitch, handsome later scarlet morocco, by Rivière & Son, covers with gilt border and upper cover titled and dated in gilt, spine gilt in compartments with five raised bands, g.e., corners very slightly rubbed, an excellent copy, [Siltzer pp.57 & 69; Tooley 25], oblong 4to, S. & J.Fuller, 1817 [watermarked 1821].

Estimate: £600 – £800; starting Bid £500 – Sold for £1364

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Lot 37:

Evelina-bloomsbury-11-7-13[Burney (Fanny)] Evelina: or Female Life in London: being the History of a Young Lady’s Introduction to Fashionable Life, and the Gay Scenes of the Metropolis, hand-coloured engraved additional pictorial title and 6 plates after W.Heath, all but one aquatints, most offset onto text, some browning, bookplates of Charles C.Auchinloss and Hon.John Wayland Leslie, contemporary mottled calf, gilt, spine gilt with red morocco label, small gouge to lower cover, preserved in later red silk folder (a little rubbed and faded), red morocco slip-case (slightly darkened at edges), [Tooley 119], 8vo, 1822.

⁂ ***Originally published in 1778 under the title Evelina, or, A Young Lady’s Entrance into the World but reissued with this title following the popularity of Egan’s Life in London..

Estimate £200 – £300; starting Bid £180 – Sold for £496

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Lot 267:

Dacre-school-bloomsbury-11-7-13

Dacre (Charlotte). The School for Friends, a Domestic Tale, first edition, hand-coloured etched frontispiece and vignette title by Thomas Rowlandson, 12pp. text, lightly soiled and stained, stitched in original blue wrappers with paper label on upper wrapper, uncut, slightly soiled, preserved in later cloth portfolio and morocco-backed cloth slip-case, spine faded, 8vo, Thomas Tegg, [c.1800].

One copy only listed on COPAC, in the National Library of Scotland..

Estimate: £200 – £300; starting bid £180 – Sold for £3968

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Lot 274:

Rowlandson-miseries-bloomsbury-11-7-13

Rowlandson: “A Stag at Bay”

Rowlandson, Thomas. Miseries of Human Life”

Hand-coloured etched title and 50 plates by Thomas Rowlandson, without the rare ‘Pall Mall’ plate but replaced with ‘The Chiropodist’ as often and with an additional plate ‘The Enraged Vicar’ (signed and dated in plate 1805), otherwise with all plates as listed in the Abbey copy, light foxing, mostly marginal but affecting a few images, ex-library copy with bookplate and ink accession number to lower margin of first plate (otherwise unstamped), later olive morocco, gilt, by Rivière & Son, spine gilt, t.e.g., rather faded and a little rubbed, covers warped, upper joint repaired, [Abbey, Life 317], 4to, R. Ackermann, [1808].

Estimate: £500 – £700; Starting Bid £440 – Sold for £1054

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Lot 279:

Collier-Rowlandson-bloomsbury-11-7-13

[Collier (Jane)] An Essay on the Art of Ingeniously Tormenting.

Half-title, folding etched frontispiece and 4 plates by Rowlandson after G.M.Woodward, all hand-coloured, frontispiece with short tear repaired, text browned, later tan calf, gilt, spine gilt, t.e.g., others uncut, a little rubbed, upper joint split, 12mo, 1808.

Estimate: £100 – £150; Starting Bid £90 – Sold for £112

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Lot 288:

Rowlandson-syntaxbookseller-bloomsbury-11-7-13

Rowlandson: “Doctor Syntax and Bookseller”

[Combe (William)] The Tour of Doctor Syntax, in Search of the Picturesque. A Poem.

First edition, second issue with “Canto I”, hand-coloured aquatint frontispiece, vignette title and 29 plates by Rowlandson, 4pp. advertisements at end, old ink signature at head of title, some light browning and soiling, final leaf of text with small repair to upper inner margin, original boards, uncut, rubbed, rebacked preserving part of old paper label on spine, preserved in later red morocco drop-back box with metal catch, gilt, slightly rubbed, [Tooley 427], 8vo, [1812].

Estimate: £200 – £300; Starting Bid £180 -  Sold for £496

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Lot 344:

Wilson-Bloomsbury-11-7-13

Wilson (Harriette) – [?Heath (Henry)] Illustrations of Harriette Wilson’s Memoirs,

12 hand-coloured etched plates, 3 signed “H.H.”, c.170 x 140 or vice versa, 7 trimmed to border or just outside plate-mark and tipped into blank leaves, light soiling, one or two small tears to edge of image (repaired), engraved circular bookplate of Sir David Lionel Salomons, Bart., later dark blue morocco, gilt, by Bumpus of Oxford, spine gilt, very slightly rubbed and marked, 4to, S.W.Fores, 1825.

Estimate: £1,000 – £1,500; Starting Bid £900 – Sold for £1736

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Millea Bros. November 9, 2013.  Asian, English, Modern Books

Lot 1473:

Millea-works-covers-11-9-13

Austen, Jane. Works. London, 1925. (10) volumes, 8vo., red morocco – Condition report: overall good, bindings good, a few scuffs and nicks

Estimate: $500-700. [no price realized available]

There is no further description about this set in the auction catalogue, but it is the 1925 George Harrap reprint of the 1908-9 Chatto & Windus edition of the novels, with illustrations by A. Wallis Mills.  Here is one illustration:

Millea-works-illus-11-9-13

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Bonham’s:  12 November 2013. Books, Atlases, Manuscripts and Photographs including the Aldine Collection of the late Sir Robert Horton, London.

Lot 165:

Bonhams-Emma-11-12-13

Austen, Jane. Emma: A Novel, 3 vol., first edition, half-titles in volumes 2 and 3 only, advertisement leaf at end of volume 3, light scattered foxing, stitching becoming loose with P3-4 in volume 1 partially detached, ownership signature of “M.E. Malden” on endpapers, contemporary half calf, worn, 3 covers detached, 4 corners strengthened with vellum, spines cracked [Gilson A8], 12mo, John Murray, 1816.

Estimate:  £4,000 – 6,000 (US$ 6,400 – 9,600) – Sold for £5,250 (US$ 8,435) inc. premium

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Christies: 15 November 2013. Sale 9702: Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts. London.

Lot 402:

Christies-P&P-11-15-13Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. London: T. Egerton, 1813. 2nd edition. 3 volumes, 12° (173 x 115mm). (Lacking half-titles, P2 at end of volume one with small marginal repair, tiny orange marginal mark to L5v of vol. II and lighter mark on a few other leaves, some spotting occasionally heavier.) Contemporary calf (rebacked, extremities lightly rubbed).

Estimate: £2,000 – £3,000 ($3,234 – $4,851) -

Sold for £2750 ($4,406)     

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Lot 403:

Christies-NA-P-11-15-13Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey: and Persuasion… With a Biographical Notice of the Author [by Henry Austen]. London: C. Rowarth [vols I-II], and T. Davison [vols III- IV] for John Murray, 1818 [but ca. 20 December 1817]. 4 volumes, 12° (169 x 100mm). Half-titles. (Some occasional light browning and spotting, without final blanks P7-8 in vol. IV as often.) Contemporary half calf, leather gilt spine labels, speckled edges (front cover of vol. I nearly detached, front joints cracked and restored in vol. III, extremities lightly rubbed). Provenance: Maria Cipriani (ownership inscription). FIRST EDITION OF BOTH NOVELS.

Estimate: £3,000 – £5,000 ($4,851 – $8,085) – Sold for £4,750 ($7,610)

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Of interest:

Lot 148:

Christies-Wollstonecraft-11-15-13

WOLLSTONECRAFT, Mary (1759-1797). Thoughts on the Education of Daughters with Reflections on Female Conduct, in the more important Duties of Life. London: J. Johnson, 1787. 8° (150 x 98mm). G6 a cancel as usual. (Short tear to last leaf.) Contemporary half calf (rebacked, extremities rubbed).

FIRST EDITION OF WOLLSTONECRAFT’S FIRST BOOK. Although it was an educational manual, the ‘more or less veiled remarks about her own emotional state … make it abundantly clear that she was far more interested in the state of her own life and the prospects that lay ahead of young women than in their years at school’ (Claire Tomalin, The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft, London: Pelican, 1977, pp. 58-59). GOOD COPY. Rothschild 2595.

Estimate: £1,800 – £2,500 ($2,898 – $4,025) – Sold for £3,750 ($6,008)

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Christies: 20 November 2013. Sale 1160. Valuable Manuscripts and Printed Books. London.

Lot 84:

MP-Christies-11-20-13[AUSTEN, Jane (1775-1817).] Mansfield Park: A Novel… By the Author of “Sense and Sensibility,” and “Pride and Prejudice.” London: T. Egerton, 1814.

FIRST EDITION. 3 volumes, 12° (176 x 102mm). Half-titles. (Lacking blank O4 in volume II and advertisement leaf in volume III, occasional faint spotting.) Contemporary calf, flat spines with compartments ruled in gilt, green morocco gilt spine labels to second compartments, the others tooled in blind, speckled edges (extremities very lightly rubbed).

Estimate: £4,000 – £6,000 ($6,484 – $9,726) –  Sold for £13,750 ($22,138)

Lot 85: (another one!)

NA&P-Christies-11-20-13[AUSTEN, Jane (1775-1817).] Northanger Abbey: and Persuasion … With a Biographical Notice of the Author [by Henry Austen]. London: C. Rowarth [vols I-II], and T. Davison [vols III- IV] for John Murray, 1818 [but c. 20 December 1817].

4 volumes, 12° (177 x 103mm). Half-titles. (Some occasional light spotting, without final blanks P7-8 in vol. IV.) Contemporary calf, tan morocco gilt spine labels, speckled edges (extremities lightly rubbed, spines more heavily). Provenance: Baroness Keith of Meiklour House (bookplates). 1st edition of both novels.

Estimate: £4,000 – £6,000  ($6,484 – $9,726) – Sold for £7,500 ($12,075)

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Also of interest at this auction:

Lot 124:

johnsondictionary-christies-11-20-13JOHNSON, Samuel (1709-1784). A Dictionary of the English Language in which the words are deduced from their originals, and illustrated in their different significations by examples from the best writers. London: W. Strahan for J. and P. Knapton [and others], 1755.

FIRST EDITION. 2 volumes, 2° (405 x 250mm). Titles in red and black, woodcut tail-pieces. (The first title with repaired losses and tears affecting some letters, the titles and a few leaves repaired in the inside margin, some marginal tears and some of these repaired, occasional mostly marginal soiling and spotting, faint dampstain in the margins of some leaves in vol. II.) Contemporary calf (neatly rebacked to style, corners repaired, sides scuffed). Provenance: David Tennant (title signature, some marginalia including on the verso of second title) — Stewart of Glasserton (bookplate).

Estimate: £5,000 – £8,000 ($8,105 – $12,968) – Not Sold

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All images are from each of the auction house websites, as cited.

Happy browsing!

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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Dear Readers: I welcome today Ron Dunning, who wrote here last year about his Akin to Jane” website - today he shares with us an article he wrote for the Huguenots of Spitalfields newsletter “Strangers” – here expanded somewhat and with pictures – and see how Jane Austen connects to various families and traditions of Spitalfields life in London.

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Christ Church Spitalfields

[View looking down Brushfield Street toward Christ Church, Spitalfields – image from HofS facebook page, from Bishopsgate Institute]

Jane Austen’s Family and the Huguenots

To have lived in London for the past 40 years has been an immense pleasure. Now I’ve discovered a new one, and that is to be retired in London. I’ve always loved to explore, but was only able to appreciate the various parts of town for their ambience. Now there’s time to appreciate them more deeply, to learn about their associations with history, about interesting residents. Many have passed out of fashion and been built over – in which case there’s only the odd surviving building to stimulate the imagination – but in other areas, where the faded charm is obvious and where their economic value has not been great enough to attract the redevelopers, new residents have moved in to restore houses and revive the life of the community.

Spitalfields rooftops cRon Dunning

[Rooftops of Spitalfields, formerly the workrooms of the silk weavers and now gentrified - c Jeremy Freedman]

One such area that I’ve come to know much better is Spitalfields, just to the east of London’s old city walls. Its development by speculative builders was begun in the early 1700s, as a new suburb. Huguenot refugees from France and the Low Countries soon settled there, particularly those involved in the silk fabric trade. They brought their skills and their contacts from the continent and quickly restored their prosperity. Some 150 years later the mechanising of weaving, relaxation of tariffs on imports from France, and robust trade with China destroyed the Spitalfields silk trade.

silkweaving-spitalfields

 [Image from the Huguenots of Spitalfields Facebook page]

The houses had aged by the mid-19th century too, and to some extent Spitalfields became a slum, housing successive waves of immigrants – who each moved on once they became prosperous. By the 1970s, when the latest wave of new arrivals to the poorer streets was Bengali, city redevelopment was threatening to overtake it. Just in the nick of time young artists discovered the antique charm of the weavers’ houses, which could be bought for a pittance. They are now worth over £1,000,000.

jane-austen-frontispiece-1870I’ve been researching the Austen pedigree for long enough that it’s possible to link her family with almost anyone.  Though the worlds of the Huguenots and of Jane Austen would seem almost to inhabit separate universes, a surprising number of Huguenot families had close connections with hers. I’ve made a list of the most notable.

Anyone who has read Jon Spence’s book, Becoming Jane Austen (or seen the film Becoming Jane), will recognise the name of Lefroy. Antoine Loffroy, a native of Cambray, took refuge in England from religious persecution in the Low Countries in about 1587, and settled at Canterbury, where he and his family engaged in the business of silk dyeing. His descendant Tom Lefroy was the one young man with whom Jane was said to be truly in love. Tom at that point didn’t have an income with which to support a wife, and was quickly bundled off by his elders and betters. He rose eventually to become the Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench in Ireland and, at the end of his life, remembered Jane with great affection. Ben Lefroy, from a later generation, did marry an Austen – one of Jane’s favourite nieces, Jane Anna Elizabeth.

The Portals were an ancient and noble Protestant family of Toulouse who stood firmly by the faith of their fathers, and several of them suffered death rather than recant it. They were among the Huguenots who introduced the art of fine paper making to England – Henry Portal established a mill at Laverstoke, on the River Itchen in Hampshire. He achieved such a reputation that the Bank of England awarded him the contract to produce bank notes. Living in Hampshire, the Portals had extensive social contacts with the Austens. Adela Portal married Jane’s nephew Edward Knight, while her sister Caroline married Edward’s brother William.

The Chenevixes were another distinguished family of Protestants, this time from Lorraine, who fled after the 1685 Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. One branch settled in Ireland, and were much attracted to the military and clerical professions. Melesina Chenevix, the poet and diarist, and granddaughter of Richard Chenevix, the Anglican Bishop of Waterford and of Lismore, was the ancestor of a number of people linked to the Austen pedigree. Melesina had married Richard Trench – the de la Tranches were yet another family who had taken refuge in England shortly after the massacre of St. Bartholomew – and their descendants assumed the double-barrelled surname of Chenevix-Trench. Their granddaughter Melesina Mary Chenevix-Trench married Chomley Austen-Leigh, Jane’s great nephew. Melesina Mary’s sister Helen Emily married Arthur Blundell George Sandys Hill, another great nephew. Their brother Charles married Emily Mary Lefroy, a cousin of Tom Lefroy. Their cousin Melesina Gladys, as well as being the mother of the famous editor of the Daily Telegraph, Bill Deedes, was the grandmother of FitzWalter Plumptre, the Baron FitzWalter – who can also trace his pedigree to the family of Eleanor Bridges, the wife of Jane’s brother Edward.  Lord FitzWalter still lives at Goodnestone, the seat of the Bridges family, where Edward and Eleanor lived before they could move into Godmersham.

David Papillon, the first of his family to settle in England, had been sent with his mother and siblings by his father, to escape persecution. They were shipwrecked while crossing the English Channel, and his mother drowned. The story of the mingling of genes between David’s descendants and the Austens, through the Brodnaxes, is a bit too obscure to tell here, but one of them featured in Jane’s life – the Rev John Rawstorne Papillon. The living of Chawton parish was offered to him; should he decline, it was then to pass to Jane’s brother Henry. John did take it and became the rector of the village in which Jane lived during her final years. There is a neat bracketing of Huguenot suitors for her hand, from the beginning and the end of her adult life – Mrs Knight, the widow of Thomas Brodnax and elderly benefactor of both the Austens and the Papillons, suggested that the Rev John, a life-long bachelor, would make a suitable husband. With characteristic irony Jane remarked in a note to her sister: ‘I am very much obliged to Mrs Knight for such a proof of the interest she takes in me – & she may depend upon it, that I will marry Mr Papillon, whatever may be his reluctance or my own – I owe her much more than such a trifling sacrifice.’

I could end this essay here, but want to mention another resonance between the Huguenots and the Austens, and to return Spitalfields to the fore. Jane’s paternal ancestors, going back three generations and further, were clothiers of Kent – staunchly Protestant, fiercely independent, wool and woollen fabric merchants. The organisation of their business was very similar to that of the silk merchants in London. I was struck, while gazing up to the roofs of Spitalfields, by a parallel.  In both industries labour was organised by narrowly demarcated skills, and in both the weavers’ workplace was accommodated on the top floor of merchant’s houses. I was seized by a vivid impression of crabbed men and no doubt women, in both London and Kent, toiling for 14 hours a day in those garrets for a pittance!

Grovehurst House c Ron Dunning

Grovehurst House c Ron Dunning

[Grovehurst House:  one of the Austen houses at Horsmonden in Kent, which dates in parts from the 14th century -  I was struck by the resonance between Spitalfields and the Kentish Austens - they were clothiers, and their industry in wool was structured much like silk weaving in London.  My understanding is that the weavers worked in the loft of this house.]

Grovehurst4-initials

[Initials of John (Iohannes, presumably) Austen, over the middle window upstairs, cRon Dunning]

 Horsmondenhouse

 [Another Austen house (Broadford) at Horsmonden, Kent where the weavers laboured on the top floor]

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A brief history of the Huguenots

The St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre in 1572 was a targeted group of assassinations, followed by a wave of Roman Catholic mob violence, directed against the French Calvinist Protestants (known as Huguenots) during France’s Wars of Religion. The Edict of Nantes, issued on 13 April 1598 by King Henry IV of France, granted them substantial rights in the interest of civil unity. In October 1685 Louis XIV, Henry IV’s grandson, revoked the Edict of Nantes with the Edict of Fontainebleau, and declared Protestantism illegal. As many as 400,000 Protestants chose to leave France, moving to Great Britain, Prussia, the Dutch Republic, Switzerland, South Africa, and the new French colonies in North America. This exodus deprived France of many of its most skilled and industrious individuals.

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bigweaveposter

The Big Weave c Jeremy Freedman

The Big Weave c Jeremy Freedman

Spitalfieldsrowhouses

Spitalfields, c Jeremy Freedman

Links and attributions, with thanks to all!

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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Enquiring Readers: Ron Dunning has previously posted here at Jane Austen in Vermont about his invaluable Jane Austen genealogy website. As he continues to research the connections, he is discovering amazing coincidences and some very familiar names.  Today he gives some insight into a marriage that took place between a Darcy and a de Burgh in 1329 and speculates on whether Jane Austen could possibly have known about this…

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jane-austen-frontispiece-1870

What Jane Might Well Have Known, and What She Couldn’t Possibly Have Known, About Her Ancestors

I’m against making any assumption based on slim evidence, but I’m about to make two; first of all, concerning a great coincidence about which Jane can’t have known anything. In 1329 a marriage took place between John Darcy, 1st Lord Darcy of Knaith, and Joan de Burgh. (The spelling doesn’t matter – even up to the 18th century spellings hadn’t been fully standardised.) Joan’s father Richard de Burgh, 2nd Earl of Ulster, was a direct ancestor of Mrs Austen through her brother John.

Last summer when my Akin to Jane [ www.janeaustensfamily.co.uk ] website was launched one or two people, with admirable perseverance, trawled through my separate family tree [ http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~janeausten ] and on discovering this marriage, insisted that Jane must have known. I was never in any doubt that she couldn’t possibly have known. This was also the opinion of the only other person who has studied the Austen pedigree extensively, Anielka Briggs.

Dugdale Baronage - Skinnerinc.com

Dugdale Baronage – Skinnerinc.com

While Baronetages were readily available in the late 1700s, the dignity having been created only in 1611, there were very few studies of the Peerage and all of those were very primitive. William Dugdale’s Baronage of England of 1675 covered only England. (Remember that Joan’s father John de Burgh was the Earl of Ulster; the marriage in question is said to have taken place in County Kildare.)

The Rev. Barlow’s Complete English Peerage was printed in 1772, so might just have been in George Austen’s library, but again deals just with English peerages. Another possibility, Arthur Collins’s Peerage series*, was first published in 1709, with reprints every few years and frequent new editions. Even he appears not to have included Irish peerages, and in the eight editions that I was able to search, not a single de Burgh featured in the indexes.

Barlow Peerage - Open Library

Barlow Peerage – Open Library

A further obstacle in the way of Jane’s knowing (or for that matter anyone at the time) is that there was no direct male descent from the de Burghs to the Austens – the surname soon disappeared from Jane’s pedigree, through a series of female links. Traditional pedigrees concentrate on the direct male line.

However, John Darcy did himself play a role in the Austen pedigree – he was a many-greats-grandfather of Charles Austen’s wives, the sisters Frances and Harriet Palmer. John and his first wife, Emmeline Heron, were the ancestors of four generations of male Darcys; Elizabeth Darcy, in the fifth generation, married James Strangeways; and that surname continued down to the Palmer girls’ paternal grandmother, Dorothy Strangeways. In Charles’s children, the Darcy and the de Burgh lines were finally united.

My second assumption concerns what Jane might well have known. Janine Barchas, in her Matters of Fact in Jane Austen, speculates that she, in choosing the names of Darcy, Wentworth, Woodhouse, FitzWilliam, Tilney, etc., was alluding “to actual high-profile politicians and contemporary celebrities as well as to famous historical figures and landed estates.” In the words of Juliet McMaster in the blurb, she was “a confirmed name dropper who subtly manipulates the celebrity culture of her day.” On page 118 Janine Barchas wrote, “Cassandra Willoughby (…) the supposed ancestor of Mrs Austen.”  Yes – she’s almost got it.  Cassandra was Mrs Austen’s 1st cousin, twice removed.

book-cover-barchas-matters

I think that Jane may well have known about the family relationship and its relevance. Cassandra’s mother Emma (Willoughby and then Child, née Barnard) was Cassandra Leigh’s great-great-aunt; it was Emma’s sister Elizabeth (Brydges, née Barnard) who was her great-grandmother.  Elizabeth was also the mother of James Bridges, the Duke of Chandos, who married Cassandra Willoughby – the two were cousins. Emma’s first husband was the noted naturalist, Francis Willoughby; after his death she remarried, to Sir Josiah Child – supreme governor of the East India Company, an early monetarist, and a rapaciously wealthy financier to 17th century royalty.  Emma and Sir Josiah’s son Richard Child became the Earl Tylney of Castlemaine, and one of his great-granddaughters was Catherine Tylney-Long.

Barchas speculates that Jane, in naming her Catherine Tilney, had this other Catherine in mind. This lady had inherited a vast estate and fortune in 1794 at the age of 5, and at 18 was reputedly the richest commoner in England. Catherine Tylney was Jane Austen’s 4th cousin.  Very few of us have any idea about our fourth cousins, but based on the following circumstantial evidence, I suspect that Jane did know that they were distantly related.

Catherine Tylney-Long - Wanstead House

Catherine Tylney-Long – Wanstead House

Wanstead House

Wanstead House

[Image: Wanstead House ]

Mrs. Austen

Mrs. Austen

There is a strong tradition in the Warwickshire village of Middleton, the seat of Francis Willoughby, that Jane visited there on the trip to Staffordshire in 1806 with her mother and sister. Middleton certainly lies in a direct line, as the crow flies, from their stop at Stoneleigh to Hamstall Ridware, where her cousin was the Rector. If they did visit, it may have been because Mrs Austen knew of the family relationship – she was certainly considered to have been proud of her aristocratic ancestors. The Austens preserved a letter written by Elizabeth Brydges in the 1680s from Constantinople, giving advice to her daughter who had been left behind; I think it likely that she’d have known about Elizabeth’s sister Emma’s illustrious marriages, and have told her daughters.

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Thank you Ron! for all this information [my head is spinning!] – I do wonder what Lady C might say to all this – would she be concerned about the “Shades of Pemberly [being] thus polluted” by any of these illustrious ancestors?

If you have questions for Ron, please comment below.

Ed. Note: * Collins Peerage:

Collins Peerage - 1812 ed.

Collins Peerage – 1812 ed.

Just again to prove once again that all roads lead back to Jane Austen, it is interesting here to note that Egerton Brydges edited this 1812 edition of the Collins Peerage – this is Jane Austen’s very own Mr. Brydges, brother to her friend Madame Lefroy. Austen makes much of his novel Arthur Fitz-Albini (1798) in her letter of 25 November 1798:

We have got Fitz-Albini; my father has brought it against my private wishes, for it does not quite satisfy my feelings that we should purchase the only one of Egerton’s works of which his family are ashamed. That these scruples, however do not at all interfere with my reading it, you will easily believe. We have neither of us yet finished the first volume. My father is disappointed – I am not, for I expected nothing better. Never did any book carry more internal evidence of its author. Every sentiment is completely Egerton’s. There is very little story, and what there is [is] told in a strange unconnected way. There are many characters introduced, apparently merely to be delineated. We have not been able to recognize any of them hitherto except Dr and Mrs Hey and Mr. Oxenden, who is not very tenderly treated…. [Letters, No. 12]

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Further reading:

1.  Ron Dunning’s Jane Austen websites:

2.  Janine Barchas links:

3. History of Catherine Tylney-Long at Wanstead Park website: http://www.wansteadpark.org.uk/hist/the-owners-of-wanstead-park-part-10-1784-1825/

4.  Wanstead Wildlife.org [information and above image]: http://www.wansteadwildlife.org.uk/index.php/home/list-of-people?id=101

5. William Dugdale Baronage [above image]: https://www.skinnerinc.com/auctions/2526B/lots/212

6. Frederic Barlow. Complete English Peerage (London, 1775): [complete text and above image]: http://openlibrary.org/books/OL24241621M/The_complete_English_peerage

7. Collins’s Peerage of England: [complete text and above image]: http://openlibrary.org/books/OL7054900M/Collins’s_peerage_of_England_genealogical_biographical_and_historical.

8. A nice introduction to Charles Austen at Austenprose.

  c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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UPDATE:  I posted the results here: it sold on March 19, 2013 at Bonham’s London for £8,125 (inc. premium) or about $12,312.

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Jane Austen will again make an appearance in the upcoming Bonham’s auction on March 19, 2013: a first Edition Emma – here are the details:

Emma bonhams 3-2013Books, Maps, Manuscripts & Historical Photographs, No. 20751. 19 Mar 2013 14:00 GMT London, Knightsbridge

Lot 6: AUSTEN (JANE).

Emma, 3 vol., FIRST EDITION, half-titles in volumes 2 and 3, spotting, one gathering working loose and blank lower margin torn away from advertisement leaf at end of volume 3, one front free endpaper near detached, bookplate of “John Hawkshaw, Esq., Hollycombe”, contemporary half calf, gilt lettering on spines, headbands frayed (volume 2 with small loss at head and foot of backstrip) [Gilson A8; Keynes 8], 8vo, John Murray, 1816.

Estimate:  £4,000 – 5,000; €4,600 – 5,800;  US$ 6,100 – 7,700

Now this appears to be the same copy that did not sell at the Bonham’s November 13, 2012 auction where the estimates were substantially higher:
£6,000 – 8,000; €7,400 – 9,900;  US$ 9,500 – 13,000

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My interest lies in the bookplate of “John Hawkshaw, Esq., Hollycombe” – always curious to see where a book has been and where it heads, and who are the participants in the story; it is often hard to track this information accurately unless a written provenance accompanies the book.  In this case it appears that all we have is this bookplate, and my research takes me thus, a very quick summary: [i.e how a whole afternoon can be spent tracing some stranger’s life and how it all can lead one down unimagined paths with only more extensive research to be undertaken …]

John Hawkshaw - wikipedia

John Hawkshaw – wikipedia

John Hawkshaw (1811 – 1891) was a British civil engineer from Yorkshire who was the chief engineer of a number of the railway lines in the Manchester area, later London, as well as responsible (some say the “saviour”) for the completion of the Suez Canal.  He was knighted in 1873. He lived at Hollycombe, his country estate in Liphook, Hampshire, purchased from Charles William Taylor in 1866. (To add to the confusion, the book titled A History of the Castles, Mansions, and Manors of Western Sussex, by Dudley George Cary Elwes, and Charles John Robinson (London, 1876), notes two other properties purchased by Hawkshaw from Taylor, so more research needed here.]

Hollycombe today is privately owned, but the pleasure gardens, expanded by Hawkshaw and more fully landscaped by his son [more on him below] are open to visitors, as is the nearby Hollycombe Steam Museum.

Hollycombe Steam Museum

Hollycombe Steam Museum

Their London home was in Belgrave Mansions, St. John’s Wood High Street, close to Bond Street in the heart of the West End.

But did John Hawkshaw read his copy Jane Austen’s Emma, or was his bookplate just really an owner stamp, and the real reader in the house was his wife Ann Hawkshaw? (though it is nice to imagine them all reading it aloud.)

a modern reprint

a modern reprint

Ann Hawkshaw (1812 – 1885) was an English poet. She published four volumes of poetry between 1842 and 1871. She married our John Hawkshaw in 1835 and they settled in Salford, near Manchester, where they mixed with the prominent thinkers of the day to include William and Elizabeth Gaskell. Her first volume of poetry Dionysius the Areopagite’ with Other Poems was published in 1842, followed by Poems for My Children in 1847. Sonnets on Anglo-Saxon History was published in 1854, and retells the history of Britain up to the Norman Conquest.

John Clarke Hawkshaw

John Clarke Hawkshaw

The Hawkshaws had six children, the most well-known was John Clarke Hawkshaw (1841-1921), who like his father was a civil engineer. In 1865 he married Cicely Wedgwood (1837-1917), daughter of Francis Wedgwood (1800-1880), grandson of Josiah Wedgwood, founder of the famed pottery firm. Francis’s sister Emma Wedgwood (1808-1896) married her cousin Charles Darwin (they were first cousins: Wedgwood’s daughter Susannah was Darwin’s mother). Emma was therefore Cicely’s Aunt and we can find this letter penned to her in the online Darwin Correspondence Project:

Hollycombe. | Liphook. | Hants.

Dear Aunt Emma

I am afraid it is too late to notice about the baby’s tears with any accuracy for I have repeatedly seen her eyes full of tears already but can give no nearer date than that I must have seen them so before she was 3 weeks old; about the tears overflowing onto her cheeks I can observe as I have never seen it happen yet, indeed it hardly happens in what one may call babydom does it?

We are having such a nice holiday here and as all the tiresome shooting is over I have Clarke to myself and we ride and walk about and don’t feel such strangers to the place as we did and the idle thoughtless life is doing Clarke good I am thankful to say.

Believe me dear Aunt Emma | Your affecte niece | Cicely M Hawkshaw

9th Feb. [1868]

Emma Darwin, 1840 - by George Richmond

Emma Darwin, 1840 – by George Richmond

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So from this letter we know that John Clarke Hawkshaw was known as Clarke and that he was able to get away to the family home and enjoy some “idle thoughtless life”! [images of Downton Abbey!]

Such a dizzying trip from a simple bookplate in a first edition of Jane Austen! – we have encountered various British luminaries ranging from railroad and canal engineers, to literary and Unitarian connections in Manchester, to country estates in Hampshire [Jane's own territory], to the Wedgwood Potteries of London, and ending with Evolution, all in one family’s connections.  It is comforting to think that this copy of Emma was read, enjoyed and discussed, and passed along to succeeding generations of this great family!  I wonder where it will end up come March 19th? … stay tuned!

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

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Today is the birthday of Robert Burns (25 January 1759 – 21 July 1796).  One cannot forget those Robert Burns poems we all had to recite in high school, often our first introduction to the “romantic” poets – ‘O, My Luve is Like a Red, Red Rose’ or ‘Tam O’Shanter’ or ‘To a Louse: on seeing one on a Lady’s bonnet at church’ – and of course how often do we sing or hear ‘Sweet Afton’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’!

Robert Burns - from wikipedia

Robert Burns – from wikipedia

I had the fortune a number of years ago to visit Burns’s home in Alloway, Ayr, Scotland, and became sort of enamored with him – who can not? But what of Jane Austen and Burns? – she certainly read his poetry.  And we now know that in her music notebooks she had copied out the music notation of two of Burns’s songs: My Love She’s But a Lassie Yet, and My Ain Kind Dearie – and Gillian Dooley has recently noted that Austen had written out in her own hand Their Groves o’ Sweet Myrtle, [see the link below to this full article] where it shows that Austen had transcribed the words “Save Love’s willing fetters – the chains of his Jean” to “the charms of his Jane” – evidence perhaps that Austen secretly admired Burns after all…?! [see full text of this song below]

Burns Cottage, Ayr

Burns Cottage, Ayr

All we have of her written words as to how she may have felt about Burns appear in Sanditon, with the ridiculous Sir Edward Denham spewing forth the following:

But while we are on the subject of Poetry, what think you, Miss Heywood, of Burns’ Lines to his Mary? — Oh I there is Pathos to madden one! — If ever there was a Man who felt, it was Burns. — Montgomery has all the Fire of Poetry, Wordsworth has the true soul of it — Campbell in his Pleasures of Hope has touched the extreme of our Sensations — “Like Angel’s visits, few & far between.’ Can you conceive any thing more subduing, more melting, more fraught with the deep Sublime than that Line? — But Burns — I confess my sence of his Pre-eminence, Miss Heywood — If Scott has a fault, it is the want of Passion. — Tender, Elegant, Descriptive — but Tame. — The Man who cannot do justice to the attributes of Woman is my contempt. — Sometimes indeed a flash of feeling seems to irradiate him — as in the Lines we were speaking of — “Oh! Woman in our hours of Ease’. — But Burns is always on fire. — His Soul was the Altar in which lovely Woman sat enshrined, his Spirit truly breathed the immortal Incence which is her Due. –”

To which Charlotte replies, in what critics have assumed is Jane Austen’s voice:

“I have read several of Burns’ Poems with great delight”, said Charlotte, as soon as she had time to speak, “but I am not poetic enough to separate a Man’s Poetry entirely from his Character; — & poor Burns’s known Irregularities greatly interrupt my enjoyment of his Lines. — I have difficulty in depending on the Truth of his Feelings as a Lover. I have not faith in the sincerity of the affections of a Man of his Description. He felt & he wrote & he forgot.”

“Oh! no no” exclaimed Sir Edward in an extacy (sic). “He is all about ardour and Truth! – His genius and his susceptibilities might lead him into some Aberrations – But who is perfect?…. Nor can you, loveliest Miss Heywood (speaking with an air of deep sentiment) – nor can any Woman be a fair judge of what a Man may be propelled to say, write or do, by the sovereign impulses of illimitable Ardour.”

[from Sanditon, ch. VII]

So I leave you with these thoughts on Jane Austen and Robert Burns and a few links for further reading:

Robert Burns

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Full text of Their Groves o’ Sweet Myrtle:

Their groves o’ sweet myrtle let Foreign Lands reckon,
Where bright-beaming summers exalt the perfume;
Far dearer to me yon lone glen o’ green breckan,
Wi’ the burn stealing under the lang, yellow broom.
Far dearer to me are yon humble broom bowers
Where the blue-bell and gowan lurk, lowly, unseen;
For there, lightly tripping, among the wild flowers,
A-list’ning the linnet, aft wanders my Jean. 

Tho’ rich is the breeze in their gay, sunny valleys,
And cauld Caledonia’s blast on the wave;
Their sweet-scented woodlands that skirt the proud palace,
What are they? – the haunt of the Tyrant and Slave.
The Slave’s spicy forests, and gold-bubbling fountains,
The brave Caledonian views wi’ disdain;
He wanders as free as the winds of his mountains,
Save Love’s willing fetters – the chains of his Jean.

c2013, Jane Austen in Vermont

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