The iconic image of Divine Jane has been the go-to portarit for Janeites all over the world for two hundered years; the engraved bookplate commissioned by Jane’s family when it was decided that Cassandra’s rather unfalttering scratchy drawing of her sister was just not good enough to present the readers with. The watercolour version of this picture makes Jane look rather bovine and gormless, hardly the sme woman who could have penned six of the world’s greatest loved novels. Thus the engraved version was born, showing a not unattractive, though intelligent looking woman, whose eyes were slightly enlargeed as ‘a gift’ to the great lady.
Recently, a new portrait has emerged and its buyers, after extensive research into Austen family features including the aristocratic nose, claim it to be Jane Austen herself. The portait is a far cry for the scratchy image drawn by her sister, and even further from the watercolour doe-eyed authoress in a cloud of stupidity. No, this image, though putting Jane in a rather more facially striking light, somehow seems to suit her more.
The face is intelligent and interested, rather than the detatched, feminine look some if her other portraits depict. It is easy to believe that this enquiring, middle aged woman with a witty glint in her eye could be our beloved authoress.
However it will take even more detailed research and substantial proof before this becomes an accepted portrait of Jane Austen, and even longer before it becomes an accepted image amongst janeites.
So is this the lost portrait of Jane Austen? Or is Divine Jane the closest we can ever get to knowing what she really looked like? Which do you prefer?
Jane wasn’t murdered. Put the smelling salts down and stop swooning. We’re not saying that there was any evidence of foul play surrounding Miss Austen’s death, which is why it’s kind of irritating us that people think there was, and have made a book about it.
Apparently, Jane Austen could have died from Arsenic Poisoning, a theory not too implausiable, as it was a popular medicine at the time. So did Jane die of natural causes? Or could her untimely death have been avoided…?