Jane Austen returns to Bath – after 215 years

The only accredited portrait of the novelist Jane Austen, by her sister, is being loaned to Bath, where she lived for five years.

The portrait is believed to have been drawn by Cassandra Austen in about 1810 when Jane was 35, seven years before her death.

It is part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery and is rarely loaned because of its delicacy, but an exception has been made for the Holburne Museum, formerly a hotel standing a few yards away from where she lived in Sydney Place.

It will be on display at the Holburne from August 26 to September 27 to coincide with the city’s annual Jane Austen Festival (September 10-19).

“Jane Austen is part of the Holburne’s history” said Chris Stephens, the Holburne’s director. “The museum is housed in the old entrance to the Sydney Pleasure Gardens where Austen liked to take breakfast and to enjoy fireworks and concerts while she lived across the road.

“I am delighted to bring her portrait back to the place she seems to have enjoyed more than any other in Bath, and I am deeply grateful to our friends at the National Portrait Gallery for making this homecoming possible.”


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