Archive for July, 2010

Breastfeeding mother, Marguerite Gerard

French artists Marguerite Gerard (1761-1837) painted this domestic scene of a mother about to breast feed her child.  The subject is unusual in that breasfeeding one’s baby was unfashionable for aristocratic and upper classes,  and the act had become associated with the poor and lower classes.

Generally, wet nurses were paid to feed the babies of the wealthy. Much thought and care went into their selection, and their milk was examined for texture, color, viscosity, and taste. Some thought that aspects of a wet nurse’s personality could be passed through her milk, and therefore her character had to be impeccable. Cassandra Austen, Jane Austen’s mother, sent all her children to the nearby village of Deane to be nursed in their infancy.  Although Cassandra Austen visited her babies daily, they did not return to the family fold until they were around 18 months of age.

The popularity of wet nurses stemmed from the fact that royalty often wanted large families. Wet nurses were hired to feed the newborn so that the royal mother would soon regain fertility and become pregnant again. When royals stopped breastfeeding their children, other women from wealthy families soon followed suit and began to farm their babies out to wet nurses.  This practiced continued until the end of the 19th century, when it largely died out.

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Repton's design for the gardens for the Royal Pavillion, Brighton

Sir Humphry Repton (1752-1818), who was mentioned in a previous post about the paint color Invisible Green was a famous landscape designer during the end of the 18th century and early 19th century. “In his day, [he]was equal in stature to Capability Brown or Gertrude Jekyll, but is now often-overlooked. However, he was once favoured by the Prince Regent (later George IV), drawing up plans for the Brighton Pavillion, as well as working at Woburn, in Londons Bedford Square, Sherringham in Norfolk and Ensleigh in Devon.”

This 1991 film about Repton’s career, which I found on YouTube and whose title I could not find, features Sir Michael Hordern as the narrator and John Savident as Repton. The special showcases Repton’s magnificent drawings for the redesign of many famous properties; some of his work can still be observed in their natural settings.

About the name: Is it Humphry or Humphrey? I have seen both spellings. The BBC spelled the name as Humprhey, whereas the National Portrait Gallery, Morgan Library, and the majority of sources use Humphry.

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Consider this recipe for a modern Austenesque mystery: Take a familiar and beloved novel, Mansfield Park, with characters whose motives and actions we know intimately, and tear the book up. Throw the pages inside a bag, shake vigorously, and let the characters and plot fall where they may. Add a writer who has cooked up a complex plot for a delicious murder (or two or more, who knows?), and you have Murder at Mansfield Park, a truly hearty and satisfying new mystery novel.

Lynn Shepherd, the chef of this roman à clef, has by dint of her imagination turned  Jane Austen’s classic novel topsy turvy. The characters’ names are familiar, the setting is the same, some of the action as originally described by Jane Austen has been retained, and yet Ms. Shepherd has managed to create something new, refreshing and different.

I must admit to disliking mysteries in general, as many regular readers of my blog know. And I tend not to review Jane Austen sequels. But this novel is different. Oh, I was skeptical at first, slogging through the first chapter, trying to wrap my mind around the changes in the characters. And then I got caught up in the plot and became absorbed to the point where I could not put the book down.

Some red herrings are thrown into the mix, but not so many as to make the reader angry. The plot’s denouement was more than satisfactory and made logical sense. I suppose a true mystery fan might have guessed the killer sooner. Truth be told I held off guessing, for I wanted to be surprised, and so I was.

That Murder at Mansfield Park is Lynn Shepherd’s first novel is most surprising. Her writing style is lovely and effortless as she weaves several plot elements into a seamless whole. Rather than copy Jane Austen, Ms. Shepherd uses Mansfield Park as a take-off point. This novel is intelligently written and assumes that the reader has some command of the English language and enough background knowledge in history, Jane Austen, and other subtle historical and social references to understand the numerous references that crop up.

I give Murder at Mansfield Park six regency fans, my highest rating ever.

Post script: Gentle reader – If you are curious to learn more about Lynn’s novel after reading my review, be forewarned. Many reviewers have spoiled the plot by giving away too much of Lynn’s changes while gushing about them. Honestly, does no one take Review a Novel 101 any more? One irresponsible reviewer of a major online news publication even gave away who was murdered, ignoring the fact that half the fun of this mystery is guessing who the victim will be. So be careful, wary reader, of careless reviewers who do not even bother to place *Spoiler Alert* at the top of their reviews.

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Inquiring reader: This is the second post by historical paint expert Patrick Baty of Papers and Paints, who has carried out extensive research into the use of pigments in architectural and decorative paintings. He has kindly answered a question about the paint color “invisible green,” which was left on his previous post, Painting a House During the Regency Era.

Invisible Green was a favourite of Humphrey Repton, the famous landscape designer of the Georgian/Regency eras. (The image above shows his trellises painted in a dark, rich green.)

William Mason, in his poem “The English Garden” published in 1783, provides us with a very early reference to the Picturesque treatment of fences and to the colour that became know as “Invisible Green”. He describes in verse the preparation of a dark green oil paint based on yellow ochre and black with white lead. Great care was required in mixing the right colour:

‘Tis thine alone to seek what shadowy hues
Tinging thy fence may lose it in the lawn…”

and he concludes by saying:

the paint is spread, the barrier pales retire,
snatched as by magic from the gazer’s view”.

Patrick Baty, Green Schemes, Garden Door, Scottish Estate

In 1808, James Crease, the Bath colourman, described “Invisible Green” as a dark green:

so denominated from its being proper for covering gates and rails in parks, pleasure grounds, etc. by rendering them in a measure invisible at a distance on account of its approximation to the hue of the vegetation”.

In 1829, T.H. Vanherman, the London colourman, described Invisible Green as follows:

“The Invisible Green is one of the most pleasant colours for fences, and all work connected with buildings, gardens, or pleasure grounds, as it displays a richness and solidity, and also harmonizes with every object, and is a back-ground and foil to the foliage of fields, trees, and plants, as also to flowers.”

One of my early projects was at Uppark, where the young Emma Hamilton is alleged to have danced naked on the dining room table.  The wonderful Lucy Inglis has written very well in her blog Georgian London about the concept of prostitution in the eighteenth century in Frances Barton – Alimony and Acting: The Life of Nosegay Fan.

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Second image by Sir Humprhy Repton of a garden building for the Royal Pavillion at Brighton. The design was not used.

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The cast of Appointment With Death

Appointment with Death is the last new Hercule Poirot mystery to be shown on PBS for Season X. David Suchet and a sterling ensemble cast reenacted Agatha Christie’s tale in Syria – or did they?

Lord and Lady Boynton, the victim, and Sarah King, right

Big changes were made to the original storyline, which Christie had originally set in Petra. Lord Boynton, a famous archeologist, now searches for the head of John the Baptist. The cast of characters differed from the novel, and when the murder was finally solved in a dramatic (and unbelievable) way, I could scarcely believe what I was watching.

Two Boynton children and Dr. Gerard
What could possibly be wrong with Dr. Gerard?

Many readers feel that Appointment With Death was one of Christie’s weakest novels, and tinkering with the story has done little to improve the plot. There is an undercurrent of cruelty in this adaptation  (Mrs. Boynton is a worse child abuser than Mrs. Norris in Mansfield Park), which has not been adequately explained. And while Lady Westholme (Elizabeth McGovern) had much to lose, her role in this plot has changed it beyond recognition.

Hercule Poirot and Dame Celia Westholme

Oh, dear. This episode was not a good way to end the season. The only positive thing I can say is that once again the actors are superb. Tim Curry, Elizabeth McGovern, Christina Cole, Tom Riley, and Angela Pleasance make for a sterling cast.

Let's hope the next Poirot season ends with a bigger bang.

Appointment With Death was filmed in the exotic locations of Casablanca and El Jadida in Morocco, and the UK.

Tim Curry….. Lord Boynton
Christina Cole….. Sarah King
Tom Riley….. Raymond Boynton
Cheryl Campbell….. Lady Boynton
Zoe Boyle….. Jinny Boynton
Emma Cunniffe….. Carol Boynton
Angela Pleasence….. Nanny
Paul Freeman….. Colonel Carbury
Beth Goddard….. Sister Agnieszka
Christian McKay….. Jefferson Cope
Mark Gatiss….. Leonard Boynton
John Hannah….. Dr. Gerard
Elisabeth McGovern….. Dame Celia Westholme

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St. Johns Catholic Church, Richmond, Australia

What are the odds that two Richmonds a world apart would boast two historic churches named St. Johns? St John’s in Richmond was built in 1837 and is the oldest Roman Catholic Church in Australia (actually, Tasmania). The structure is situated near the oldest bridge, built between 1823 and 1825 by Australian convicts over the Coal River, and was used by military police and convicts between Hobart and Port Arthur.

St. John's Episcopal Church, Richmond, Virginia

St. John’s Episcopal Church was built in Richmond in 1741. In 1775, Patrick Henry, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee, Peyton Randolph and other important Virginia delegates met in the church for the Second Virginia Convention of the House of Burgesses, where Patrick Henry delivered his famous speech: “Give me Liberty or Give me Death.” The delegates were  so impressed by the speech that they decided to organize a Virginia militia, which led the way to Revolutionary War.

Coincidentally, both St. John churches were built on top of hills.

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Inquiring readers, One of the perks of overseeing a blog is getting to know the fascinating people one encounters while researching a topic. One such individual is Patrick Baty of Papers and Paints. Mr. Baty has carried out extensive research into the use of pigments in architectural and decorative paintings. Recently I asked him the following questions:

Image of painters from Papers and Paints

“If Sir Walter Elliot from Persuasion decided to paint the door to the carriage house at Kellynch Hall, how would this be accomplished? Would he keep a painter on hand or hire one? Were paints made from scratch from a tried and true formula, or did each painter have a formulaic secret? What were the typical colors used for exterior doors and window casements, and wooden structures?”

Mr. Baty: “It is likely that [Sir Walter] would have hired a painter, unless he was tempted by some of the literature of the time, for example T.H. Vanherman’s “Every Man his own House-painter and Colourman“, 1829. One hundred years earlier there was this revealing passage in a work of 1734:

“Painters Work being very expensive, and this being the only part in Building wherein a Gentleman can be assisting either by himself or Servants, it being almost impossible for any Gentleman to do either Masons, Bricklayers, Carpenters, or Smiths Works; whereas it is well known and daily experienced since the Advertisement of ALEXANDER EMERTON, that several Noblemen and Gentlemen have by themselves and Servants painted whole Houses without the Assistance or Direction of a Painter, which when examined by the best Judges could not be distinguished from the Work of a professed Painter.”

If his house/estate were big enough he might have had a handyman/painter. Otherwise he would have called upon the services of a firm like Messrs Moxon & Carfrae Ltd, painters and decorators, Edinburgh, whose day books survive from the 1770s.

Paints were generally made from ready-mixed paste bought at a colourman’s shop as can be seen in this quote of 1747:

“Methods practised by some Colour-Shops; who have set up Horse-Mills to grind the Colours, and sell them to Noblemen & Gentlemen ready mixed at a low price, & by the help of a few printed Directions, a house may be painted by any common Labourer at one Third of the Expense it would have cost before the Mystery was made public”

Different painters might have had slightly different recipes, but the general mixes would have been very similar.  (The Methods and Materials of the House Painter in England: An Analysis of House Painting Literature 1660 – 1850, thesis by Patrick Baty.)

Boodle's St. James's. Papers and Paints performed the colour survey.

The sort of colours being sold by a Bath colourman of the period for exterior use were:

Olive brown paint in casks of 30lb & upwards, per lb 3d

Oil Paints

  • Lead colour 4 1/2d
  • Chocolate colour 4 1/2d
  • Invisible green 4 1/2d
  • Stone colour 5d
  • Black 6d
  • Garden green 8d
  • Rich bottle green 1 0
  • Deep Sardinian green 2 0
  • Light ditto, ditto, 2 0
  • Rainbow green 3 6

Windows, normally, would have been a pale stone colour (off white).

More about Patrick Baty:  Since carrying out a research degree which focussed on The Methods and Materials of the House-painter 1650-1850,Patrick has been running a consultancy that advises on the use of paint and colours in historic buildings.  Buildings have ranged in size and type from Royal palaces; country houses and cathedrals to museums; a wartime RAF station and London housing estates.

Visit Patrick’s sites at the following links: Papers and Paints website; Colourman Blog, the Papers and Paints blog; and Papers and Paints Twitter Account.

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Camden Place, Bath. Sir Walter Elliot and his family reading.

Thomas Hope (1769–1831), the style icon of the Regency interior, would have been happy with these images of Sir Walter Elliot’s interior of Camden Place in Persuasion 1995.  Thomas Hope was known for the “decorative details and ornament based on influences from his nearly ten-year Grand Tour, as well as from motifs from ancient Greece and Egypt.”

Camden Place: A view of the Drawing Room

Hope’s startling juxtaposition of styles included Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Indian elements, as well as his own version of the French Empire style. Classical sculpture and vases were displayed alongside modern paintings and sculpture. Most striking of all was the inventive and exotic furniture that Hope designed specifically for the house. – Exhibition, Thomas Hope, V&A Museum

Camden Place: Dining Room (Anne and Elizabeth Elliot and Mrs. Clay)

From these images it is quite obvious that the set designer of this film chose furniture and draperies that for the Regency era would have been regarded as ultra fashionable. Sir Walter might have moved from Kellynch Hall to reduce his expenses, but his tastes remain expensive and he shows no inclination to follow the rules of economy.

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Thomas Hope: Regency Designer

Like designers of his day, Sir Thomas Hope drew his planned room design ahead of time. Witness the following whole room design:
Design of a room, 1807, by Sir Thomas Hope

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Crofts arrive in the gig, Persuasion 1995

In Persuasion, Jane Austen depicts the Crofts as the happiest couple imaginable. Sophy, who is also Captain Wentworth’s sister, follows her Admiral across the seas, sacrificing her looks in the process. She is only 38 years old, but her complexion is ruddy and has obviously been affected by the sun. Jane Austen writes about the couple in a realistic way, and like all happily married folks, these two exhibit their own idiosyncracies. Admiral Croft, it turns out, is a bad driver. Captain Wentworth says about his brother-in-law to Louisa:

“What glorious weather for the Admiral and my sister! They meant to take a long drive this morning; perhaps we may hail them from some of these hills. They talked of coming into this side of the country. I wonder whereabouts they will upset to-day. Oh! it does happen very often, I assure you–but my sister makes nothing of it–she would as lieve be tossed out as not.”

“Ah! You make the most of it, I know,” cried Louisa, “but if it were really so, I should do just the same in her place. If I loved a man, as she loves the Admiral, I would always be with him, nothing should ever separate us, and I would rather be overturned by him, than driven safely by anybody else.”

The party stops to talk to the Crofts

During their return walk from Winthrop, the party from Uppercross, which includes Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth and a number of the Musgroves, encounter Admiral and Mrs. Croft in a gig. They offer a seat to one of the party. Everyone declines, except for Captain Wentworth, who has noticed Anne’s fatigue. He whispers something to his sister, then encourages Anne to join the Crofts in their two-seater for the rest of the way back to Uppercross (about one mile.) Anne is grateful for his thoughtfulness. But as she rides in the carriage, she hears Mrs. Croft warn her husband:

The Crofts and Anne Elliot crowded in a 2-man gig

My dear admiral, that post!–we shall certainly take that post.”

Jane Austen goes on to write:

But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself, they happily passed the danger; and by once afterwards judiciously putting out her hand, they neither fell into a rut, nor ran foul of a dung-cart; and Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she imagined no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs, found herself safely deposited by them at the cottage.

The happy admiral is more than willing to allow his wife to steer the carriage alongside him, which many of us who have driven with “back-seat driving” spouses know is a rare attitude indeed!

In this famous scene by Jane Austen, the Crofts moved over to make room for Anne. Mary Musgrove would rather die from fatigue than be seen crowded in a humble gig, but Anne could only feel gratitude. She is beginning to understand that while Captain Wentworth is unable to forgive her for rejecting him, he is still a kind and decent man. He knows her well enough to see that she was tired and made arrangements for her. In these small observable progressions (as with taking the child Walter from her without comment), we see the Captain’s love for Anne come to the surface. It will take a little longer for his anger at her rejection to recede. See also Shopping and Milsom Street, Bath

Light weight gig

About Gigs: Gigs were two-wheeled carriages equipped for one horse only. They were designed for two people, one of whom was the driver, and were considered carriages for the middle class, or for the “poorer” classes, who paid less duty on them. Because these carriages were light in weight and springy, they could be easily turned over, especially by a poor driver like Mr. Croft. Gigs were used by doctors, travelers, and people who made short journeys that would not fatigue the horse. Gigs evolved into cabriolets (early versions of cabs) Dennet, Stanhope, and Tilbury. The Stanhope was designed by Fitzroy Stanhope, the second son to the Third Earl Stanhope. This carriage became popular towards the mid-19th century for short trips between Town and the suburbs.

Road to a fight, detail by Henry Alken, 1821

The two men in this high perch phaeton show how precarious a light two-wheeled vehicle can be. One can see the difference between this “sporty” more expensive vehicle and the humble gig (above).

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Jemima Rooper as Norma Restarick in Third Girl

Third Girl is the second installment of Season X of Hercule Poirot on PBS Masterpiece Mystery! Unlike his dark and edgy stint on Murder on the Orient Express, David Suchet relaxes a bit in this production, once again showing the fastidious side of Poirot and reintroducing some of the dark humor for which Dame Agatha was well known. Case in point, Ariadne Oliver, the author/sleuth who was wont to “help” Poirot. As played by Zoë Wanamaker, the character is delightful.

Zoë Wannamaker and David Suchet

Jemima Rooper plays heiress Norma Restarick, the third girl who shares an apartment with Claudia, the first girl, and Frances, the second girl. These two beautiful women share a confidence about their beauty and themselves that Norma does not possess. Haunted by her mother’s death, Norma fears for her sanity when she thinks she has murdered her former nanny.

It was nice to see Ms. Rooper team up again with Tom Mison, who in this production played David Baker, the young artist who was commissioned to paint a portrait and whose eyes light up every time he sees Norma. Both Jemima and Tom portrayed roles in Lost in Austen, Tom a very likable Mr. Bingley and Jemima a befuddled Amanda Price, who steps back in time to exchange places with Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice.

David Suchet as the incomparable Hercule Poirot

Watching Third Girl I was happy that no commercials would interrupt the flow of the story. Still, it had so many plot twists and elements going in various directions, that I felt the production would have benefited from an additional half hour to flesh out the story line and characters. Nevertheless, it is good to see Suchet back in old familiar form. If you missed this episode, you can watch it online for a week at this link through August 1.

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In mid April 1817 Jane Austen was so ill she took to her bed in Chawton. By the 27th April she had written her will. After a visit from her brother James and his wife Mary she agreed to go to Winchester to be close to her surgeon who would take care of her there.

Image courtesy © Tony Grant

Lodgings were found in 8 College Street, Winchester, which backed on to the grounds of Winchester College and was close to the precincts of Winchester Cathedral.

View of College Street today. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

At first she was able to take trips from the house in College street in a sedan chair. This was an upright box about the size of a telephone kiosk, often with glazed windows to each side and furnished with a comfortable chair. Too long vertical poles secured, one to each side by iron retaining loops, were used to carry the sedan chair and its occupant.

Sedan Chair

As you can imagine only short journeys could be attempted in this way because the chair and occupant would be heavy. Winchester is a not a big city and the cathedral and its precinct, a picturesque and shaded walk along the River Itchen which passes through the city, and the shops in the high Street, were only a short journey from the front door of 8 College Street.

Bishop of Winchester Palace. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

Jane was also able to walk around the rooms inside the house in College Street. Jane herself was always optimistic. Cassandra was far more fearful.

Jane’s house on College Street, Winchester. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

In early June of 1817 James Austen wrote to his son at Oxford, “I grieve to write what will grieve to read; but I must tell you that we can no longer flatter ourselves with the least hope of having your dear valuable Aunt Jane restored to us.”

River Itchen, bridge and Town Mill. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

Later in the same letter James states that his sister is “….. well aware of her situation.” and also at another point he writes “…. an easy departure from this to a better world is all that we can pray for.”

Winchester Water Mill. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

All this sounds very gloomy. However, Jane’s health seemed to improve for a while to the surprise of all.

Winchester Cathedral, West Front. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

On the morning of the 15th July, St Swithuns Day Jane dictated a humorous poem to Cassandra. She must have been mulling the words over in her head. It was called, Venta, an old fashioned name for Winchester.

“Oh subjects rebellious!
Oh Venta depraved
By vice you’re enslaved…..

Winchester Cathedral Flying Buttresses. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

St. Swithun was a Saxon saint who had lived in Winchester. He was buried in the Cathedral and his grave became a focus for pilgrims coming to pray for favours. Winchester was as famous as a place for pilgrimage because of St Swithun, as Canterbury became later because of Thomas a Beckets martyrdom near the high altar in Canterbury Cathedral.. There is a famous rhyme associated with St Swithun:

‘St. Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain St. Swithin’s day if thou be fair For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.’

However the depraved and enslaved that Jane refers to was probably about some of the characters who frequented the yearly tradition of horse racing and betting on the races that took place on St Swithun’s day to celebrate the saint. I’m sure there was some depraved activities at these Winchester races.

Winchester Cathedral, South Side. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

There is a line in the poem that is thought to have been edited by Cassandra herself as Jane dictad the poem to her.

“When once we are buried you think we are gone.”

The poem is a rhyming poem and the last word of this line,
” gone,” does not rhyme with the final word of the next couplet which is the word, “said.” The word dead fits perfectly.

Winchester Cathedral Close Houses. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

Cassandra’s first tentative foray into editing her sister’s words. The letters came later.

On the 17th July the sun shone during the day and evening and rained at night time. Mary Austen, James’s wife ( Jane didn’t get on with her) wrote “ Jane Austen was taken for death about ½ past 5 in the evening” This was a seizure and Mr Lyford Jane’s doctor thought that a blood vessel had ruptured inside Jane’s head. Dr Lyford administered something, which Cassandra does not make clear in her letters afterwards. It was probably laudanum, a derivative of opium.

Winchester Cathedral Aisle. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

Some of the last recorded words of Jane’s are, “ God grant me patience, Pray for me oh Pray for me.” She had struggled somewhat during these last moments and had partly come off her bed. Cassandra got a stool and sat next to Jane resting her head in her lap. She sat like this for six hours before she had a rest and Mary Austen took over for the next two hours until 3am in the morning then Cassandra took over the position once again. An hour later Jane Austen breathed her last breath. She was pronounced dead at 4am. Cassandra closed Jane’s eyes.

A few days later the Salisbury and Winchester Journal wrote,

“On Friday 18th inst. Died, in this city, Miss Jane Austen, youngest daughter of the late Rev. George Austen, rector of Steventon , in the county and authoress of Emma, Mansfield park, pride and prejudice and sense and Sensibility.”

Henry, her beloved brother, wrote the words to be etched on her tomb in Winchester Cathedral. He failed to mention her literary achievements.

Cassandra was distraught at her sister’s death.

However she was able to write letters to friends and family and deal with many of the practical things needed to be done after Jane’s death. On Sunday 20th July, two days after Jane died, Cassandra wrote to fanny Knight and Cassandra expresses a lot of the emotion she must have felt.

Jane Austen’s Grave. Image courtesy © Tony Grant

“ I have lost a treasure, such a sister, such a friend as never can be surpassed,-She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow, I had not a thought concealed from her, & it is if I had lost a part of myself.”

Four days later on the 24th July Jane was buried in the north aisle of Winchester cathedral. There has been some speculation as to how she was buried in such an honoured place. Her father was a local vicar, but that would not have been sufficient to get her a burial inside the cathedral. It might have been there was a friend of the family who was part of the diocesan hierarchy who got permission as a favour.

Jane Austen’s Grave, Image courtesy © Tony Grant

Four days after the internment on the 28th July Cassandra got down to the business of sorting out formalities. She wrote to Anne Sharp;

“ My dear Miss Sharp, I have great pleasure in sending you the lock of hair you wish for,& I add one pair of clasps which she sometimes wore & a small bodkin which she had had in use for more than twenty years.”

A certain austere efficiency has entered Cassandra’s actions.

So Jane Austen was dead. But, she lives on.

Posted by Tony Grant, the blog author of London Calling

About Tony Grant:

I am now partly retired from teaching. I do some supply teaching but I also work as a freelance tour guide for a Canadian company called Tours by Locals.

I lead tours of the South of England for family and friendship groups. Many of the tours are tailor made to peoples personal requirements.

I was born in Southampton. From an early age my grandmother made me aware of Jane Austen. It was my grandmother who showed me the site in Castle Square where Jane lived for two years. On visits to Winchester my grandmother also showed me the house where Jane died and her tomb in the north aisle of Winchester Cathedral.

I read my first Jane Austen novel, Mansfield Park, when I was doing my Batchelor of Arts degree in the early 1970’s. Having been born and brought up in Southampton, Hampshire, and now living in North Surrey, I have been able to visit, over the years many of the places Jane mentions in her letters and uses in her novels. I live very close to some of those places.

I have my own BLOG, London Calling, in which I discuss ideas and places to do with Jane. My BLOG also allows me to present one of my other passions photography. I have photographed many Jane Austen sites.

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Richmond and the River Swale, North Yorkshire

Richmond, Virginia, my home town

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