Chawton House Library – Lots to Enjoy!

March 28, 2013 at 3:45 PM (General News, Jane Austen Related Travel)

Chawton House Library is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, which means lots of wonderful events for those of you lucky enough to live in the UK or to be planning a trip to the UK this year.

One of the most exciting calendar events is the Wednesday Guided Tour of the library. The tours start in April and go through to October. If you are planning a little visit to Chawton, you may want to visit their website (click on link above) to find out about booking a place. If you do go, please write us about it and after my jealousy has subsided, I will be more than happy to post your report here for the enjoyment of others. You can email me at

For those of us confined to non-UK parts for this year, I post this link to the Chawton House Gallery as a small, unsatisfactory consolation to tide you over until you can get there.



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Happy Birthday ‘Pride and Prejudice’

December 28, 2012 at 10:26 AM (Jane Austen in the News)

Greetings and Salutations to you all. I do hope you had a lovely Christmas and that 2013 starts off jolly well for you.

I just spotted a little tweet this morning, the contents of which I thought I would share with you. 2013 is going to be an important year for Janeites as it marks the 200th Anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, which means we have a jolly good excuse to have little parties, celebrations and, maybe, head on over to England to celebrate in the country of our favourite author’s birth!

This little link here will give you an idea of some of the exciting things going on in the Mother Country to mark the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Mr Darcy.

I am hoping I’ll get my blasted thesis finished so I can get over there in June and start celebrating myself.

In the mean time, happy holidays and happy reading!

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Meeting Details for October

September 21, 2012 at 5:53 AM (Perth Chapter Meeting Details)

Jane Austen Perth Chapter

invites you to a talk by 

Dr Joanna Penglase 

Jane Austen’s Abandoned Children

Children’s lives are rarely chronicled in history books, yet how society deals with its children, particularly those without adequate parents, tells us a lot about the prevailing social attitudes of any era.  If history books don’t talk about this, Jane Austen’s novels do, and in Dr Penglase’s talk she will be discussing this topic with special reference to Emma, Mansfield Park and Austen’s unfinished fragment The Watsons.

Dr Joanna Penglase is a Sydney writer, editor and literary speaker, and the editor of JASA’s journal Sensibilities. She is the author of Orphans of the Living: Growing up in ‘care’ in 20th century Australia.

When:                 2:30 pm Saturday 6th October 2012

Where:                Subiaco  (RSVP for location details)


There is no charge for this event and members of the public are welcome; however, seating is limited so please RSVP to Helen on 0430 133 368 or to reserve a place.


Jane Austen Perth Chapter are a group of Jane Austen enthusiasts who meet every other month to discuss Jane Austen’s novels, her life and the society in which she lived.





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Not Jane-related post, but a necessary ‘share’

August 23, 2012 at 2:46 AM (General News)

Greetings and Salutations my Fellow Janeites. I just received a lovely parcel from my London friend Mary and as well as my Ponds Moisturising Cream and Hotel Chocolat choccies (yum!), she also included some Radio Times material about the recent BBC2 series ‘Hollow Crown’, which is a new television production featuring Shakespeare’s Richard II, Henry IV and his split personality, and Henry V. I thought I would post the article for you here to read and for those of you who, like me, saw Tom Hiddleston being all wicked and saucy in Thor and The Avengers and developed a crush on him, well, you might like the photos!

Radio Times Hollow Crown Edition June 2012

I would hope that one of the Australian networks obtains the rights to screen these telly adaptations sooner rather than later. Do keep a look out for them and in case I’m still in Thesis Lockdown, could you email me and let me know when to tune in? Thanks!

Oh, and just have to say how much I love the photograph of Ben Wishaw as Richard II. I immediately thought of the Westminster Portrait, currently on loan to the British Museum. So perfectly and beautifully replicated!

Ben Wishaw as Richard II in BBC2’s ‘Hollow Crown’ series

Richard II Westminster Portrait, c. Westminster Abbey

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Jane Austen in the News

August 22, 2012 at 5:07 AM (Jane Austen in the News)

Greetings again. I am doing anything rather than working on the thesis this morning. (It’s taken nearly 7 years because…)

I thought I would pop a few Jane from the News items here for you. I should have been at our last meeting to present some of these in person, however, I am sure Tracey covered my procrastinating butt quite well!

A couple of items are a little old now, but I have, as per the last post, been meaning to post them for a while, so better late than never!

Pride and Prejudice Tours Brochure – This one isn’t so much news as information for any of you lucky enough to be planning a trip to the Mother Country. If you have been fortunate enough to do one of these tours already, maybe you would like to send through your thoughts and pics to me and I can post them here for other members.

For those of you on Facebook, you might like to follow the Chawton House Library, if you’re not already. A few items from their page for your edification.

Heritage Open Day: The Gentleman Farmer

Saturday 8th September 2012 from 10:00am, until 4:00pm
Experience Chawton House Library in a new light as we bring you face-to-face with the ‘Gentleman Farmer’. Discover the charity’s newly-restored eighteenth-century barn, complete with contemporary implements; walk the lime avenue; experience the Shire horses working on the estate, and speak to the woodsman. Children’s activities will be available, plus an exhibition in the house.
The ground floor of the House will be open, including a display of Edward’s newly-conserved silk suit. Refreshments will be available and the gardens will be open to visitors.

Evening Lecture: Professor Philip Olleson – ‘the World Of Susan Burney’

Wednesday 19th September 2012 from 6:30pm, until 8:30pm
To mark the publication by Ashgate of The Journals and Letters of Susan Burney: Music and Society in Late Eighteenth-Century England, Chawton House Library invites you to an evening devoted to Susan Burney. Philip Olleson, Emeritus Professor of Historical Musicology at the University of Nottingham, and the editor of the volume, will introduce Susan with an account of her life and times, accompanied by a selection of readings from the journals by Karin Fernald, a speaker, actor and writer who is well known for her programmes of readings based on the life and works of literary figures.
A collection of new photographs of Chawton House Library are available to view – Chawton House Library Beautiful new photographs of Chawton House by Winchester-based photographer, Joe Low.
They have also updated their website and it’s all new and flash with lots of interesting things to tantalise the little grey cells! If you haven’t surfed in their direction for a while, now might be a good time.
From the newspapers we have a range of things to delight and horrify. If any of you are following the Perth Janeites Facebook Page, I have just posted a link to the article from The Guardian in which it was revealed that Pride and Prejudice is about to the Fifty Shades of Grey treatment! Horror! It’s bad enough it was zombified, now it’s going X-rated! Let’s leave something to the imagination. 
Did you see the story about a ring that apparently belonged to Jane going for a tidy sum in a recent auction?
And did you catch this post on The Jane Austen Centre‘s website about Jane’s final days in Winchester?
This news is from last year, but I just came across it the other day and I was intrigued and horrified at the same time. Murder? Really? Read for yourself and see what you think. A novelist with a book to sell looking for publicity at any cost?
As for this particular item; perish the thought! I can’t believe she’d be in synch with this group of Conservatives! Maybe in her own time. Shuddering at the thought.
Well, I really should get on with doing some writing of my own. Nothing controversial or horrific in what I’m doing. Well, some of the tales I encounter are pretty horrific, but other than some grammatical horrors, I think I’m fairly horror-free in my thesis.
Hope you are all well and Happy Jane Austening to you!

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Time for another Get Together for the Perth Janeites

July 25, 2012 at 10:56 AM (Perth Chapter Meeting Details)

I apologise to my fellow Perth Janeites for my bloggy absence recently. I have a rather pathetic excuse, but I won’t go into that here.

I have popped online to let you know about our next meeting on Saturday 4th August, same time, same place. For those who stumble across this blog and would like to join us at our meeting, please email our Meeting Coordinator Helen at for the particulars of the meeting.

The topic for this meeting will involve watching the various adaptations of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ focussing on the proposal scene. Helen has gathered together several versions of the book for us all to watch together and then discuss.

You may want to prep for the meeting by reading Chapter 34 of P&P to see how Miss Austen intended for it to go.

As soon as I have chapters one and two of my thesis properly drafted and delivered to the hands of my most-patient supervisor and my poor friend who has acquiesced to my request for her to proof to my thesis, I shall pop back here and post a few articles I have been meaning to share with you for aaaages.

Don’t forget that if you wished to contribute to the blog with posts of your own, do send them along to me at, along with any visuals you might want to include, and I will be happy to post them here on your behalf, with proper accreditation, naturally!

Until we meet again, Happy Janeing!

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Next JASA Perth Meeting

March 23, 2012 at 6:33 AM (General News, Perth Chapter Meeting Details)

Greetings and Salutations to my Fellow Perth Janeites and any other Janeite who happens upon this blog. I do hope you are all keeping well.

I just wanted to remind you all that we are scheduled to meet again next month, specifically Saturday 14th April at 2:30pm, the usual place. (For those who would like to come along and don’t know ‘the usual place’, do send me an email at – – and I shall let you know the top secret details regarding ‘the usual place’.)

There is no specific Jane Austen reading for our April meeting as Lauris is presenting a little talk on the subject of ‘Sisters in Jane Austen’s Novels and Life’, which means you could read your favourite Jane Austen novel or some of her letters to Cassandra in order to have some interesting things to add to the conversation. Or you can simply come along, sit, listen, drink tea, eat cake and just enjoy being in the company of your Fellow Janeites.

My apologies for not having posted any Jane Austen related news since, I think, December. You are not the only blog I have been ignoring, or the writing assignment I have been avoiding. My nickname is Queen Procrastinator for a reason.

I have been frantically scanning my Jane Austen’s Regency World collection so I can post interesting articles that you may have missed and will endeavour to pop a few ‘sister’ related ones here before the meeting in case you wanted to do some prep for April 14.

Once again, I invite my Fellow Perth Janeites to send me any little tit-bits, photos, or blessays, (Stephen Fry lingo for blog essays), that they would like to have posted here. This is a blog for all of us, by all of us. Have you just been to Jane Austen Land and wish to brag to the rest of us, then write a little brag and send some tantalising photos and I will post for all to see and envy over.

Until the next time,

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In the News: Archaeologists Unearth Steventon Rectory

December 16, 2011 at 9:36 PM (Jane Austen in the News)

The following is from an article on the BBC News website.


16 December 2011 Last updated at 09:01 GMT

Remains of Jane Austen’s Steventon home unearthed

Archaeologists in Hampshire have uncovered signs of the house where Jane Austen spent more than half of her life.

The Austen family lived in the rectory in Steventon, near Basingstoke, from 1775 to 1801, where the writer began three of her novels.

Contemporary drawings of Steventon rectory

Contemporary drawings showed different views of the Austens’ house

The house was demolished early in the 19th Century soon after Austen and her family moved to Bath.

Volunteers involved in the dig hope to gain an insight into life in the house.

Debbie Charlton, of archaeologists Archaeo Briton, who led the dig, said: “Our main focus for the project is putting together the puzzle of what Jane’s first home was like.”

Although the original shape of the building was recorded on a local map in the early 1800s, it was not to scale and the few drawings made by different artists appear contradictory.

Archaeological dig in Steventon
The excavation was undertaken by a team of volunteers

Austen’s social life while she lived at Steventon is said to have provided her with material for her novels.

While at Steventon, she started to pen the drafts that became Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey.

They were later completed when the family returned to Hampshire to live in the village of Chawton, near Winchester.

The house there is now a museum and tourist attraction.

Maureen Stiller, of the Jane Austen Society, said: “Experience went into writing her novels, so obviously the people she met and things she did must have fed into her work. This is where it all started.

“I hope the Austen devotees are going to be excited – it gives us a bit more insight into the proportions of the rectory and hopefully a bit of the social life.”

Portrait of Jane Austen by British painter Ozias Humphry
Jane Austen lived at Steventon from 1775 to 1801

Having completed the archaeological excavations, the project volunteers will collate the finds for display at the Willis Museum at Basingstoke next year.

Ms Charlton said: “It’s been fantastic and a wonderful opportunity. It’s been a joy – every day has brought some excitement.”

The work was carried out with a £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and supported by The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation.

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Jane Austen in the news again. Well, in the UK’s ‘Daily Mail’.

December 5, 2011 at 6:38 PM (Jane Austen in the News)

I hope my Fellow Janeites are getting into the festive spirit now that the Silly Season is upon us. Apologies to my Fellow Perth Janeites that I will not be with you this weekend for our gathering as I am off to Melbourne tomorrow. However, before I hop on the plane, I wanted to share this article with you, which was tweeted to followers of Chawton House (@ChawtonHouse) 46 minutes ago. The following is the article copied from the UK’s Daily Mail website.


Is this what Jane Austen really looked like? Newly discovered sketch could be lost portrait of 19th century novelist

Last updated at 2:06 AM on 5th December 2011

Read more:

The author of a forthcoming biography on Jane Austen believes she has unearthed a previously undiscovered portrait of the novelist.

Dr Paula Byrne was midway through her new book when her husband surprised her with a portrait of a female writer bought at auction, according to the Christmas Radio Times.

She spotted the long, straight ‘Austen nose’ seen in images of the writer’s father and brothers, and enlisted the help of a team of experts and the BBC to test her as yet unproven thesis that the woman is the famous author, who died in 1817 aged 41.

New look: Paula Byrne is convinced that the woman in this sketch is one of Britain’s best-loved authors. Her find is the subject of a new BBC2 documentary, Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait?, to be broadcast on Boxing Day in the UK.

The only known images with proven provenance of the author of Sense And Sensibility, Pride And Prejudice and Emma to date are an 1810 sketch by Austen’s sister Cassandra – in which the writer is said to look a little cross – and an ‘idealised’ portrait used as the frontispiece to the Austen memoir written by her nephew in 1870.

Dr Byrne, whose Austen biography, The Real Jane Austen, is being published by HarperCollins in 2013, believes the new portrait could transform the author’s image.

‘The memoir portrait has always rather annoyed me. It makes her look pretty and dim,’ she said.

‘It feeds this whole notion of “Aunt Jane”, the demure spinster who was very good at spillikins and enjoyed scribbling on the side, but was content with her life in the shadows.

‘Scholars know there was so much more to her and for me this new picture encapsulates – almost too perfectly – that other side.

‘She’s a professional woman presenting herself to the world with the tools of her trade. It’s the image of Jane Austen so many of us have been waiting for.’

Dr Byrne, whose previous work includes Jane Austen And The Theatre, and Perdita: The Life of Mary Robinson, said she had a jolt of recognition as soon as she saw the image.

‘My immediate reaction was, “My God, it’s Jane Austen!”. It was the nose that did it,’ she added.

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Christmas Meeting of the JASA Perth Chapter

November 15, 2011 at 9:42 AM (Jane Austen in the News, Perth Chapter Meeting Details)

The time for the Christmas meeting of the Perth Chapter of the Jane Austen Society of Australia is fast approaching! We are scheduled to meet on Saturday 10th December at 2:30pm, the usual place.

I have been going through my copies of the Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine and in the process of doing so, I came across the following article, which I think might help to put you all in an Austen-y Christmas Mood for the meeting, so if you have the magazine do check out the article ‘An Austen Christmas’ by Sheryl Craig in the November/December 2009 edition.

And in the same issue of Jane Austen’s Regency World is a Christmas mystery by Carrie Bebris and starring everyone’s favourite Austen couple, The Darcys – ‘A Midwinter Night’s Dream: A Mr & Mrs Darcy Mystery’.

For those interested in joining the Perth Janeites for their Christmas meeting, please contact our Meeting Coordinator, Helen for further details at

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