Quote Jane

“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” ― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

zaterdag 28 mei 2011

Houses in Bath where Jane Austen lived

No 4, Sydney House

No 4, Sydney House was a good, well proportoned newly built terraces house. It was well placed outside the crowded centre of Bath, but within walking distance over Pulteney bridge.

From its talldrawing room windows it looked across the road to the newly laid-out and very agreeable Sydney Gardens at the front

The father of Jane died in 1805 in a house in Green park Building East to which they had moved not many weeks after the lease on Sydney Place ran out.

An old photograph of Green Park Buildings from The Buildings of Georgian Bath by Walter Ison,looking towards Seymour Street)

Jane, her mother and Cassandra had to move again to  No 25 Gay Street. We know very little about the house as it was at the time when Jane Austen lived in it. Gay Street was a very busy street, full of chairs carrying people from the Upper to the Lower town, and would have been noisy. It was firmly set into the centre of town with very little chance of good views of the surrounding countryside.

No 25 Gay Street

You can see that Gay Street steeply descends the hill towards Queen’s Square in the break in the circle of houses in the middle of the picture.

The Austen ladies were of course at this time beginning to find that their financial position was not particularly secure. By his will Mr Austen left everything to Mrs Austen. But his main source of income was the money from his livings of Deane and Steventon and any entitlement to that money ceased at the moment of his death. Mrs Austen had a little independent income and Cassandra had the interest on the £1000 left to her by her late finance Tom Fowle, but Jane Austen had nothing whatsoever in the way of income.
The letters sent between the Austen brothers at this time indicate quite interesting attitudes to the economic and social fate of the Austen ladies. Frank had just been appointed to the 80-gun HMS Canopus. He generously offered £100 per annum towards the upkeep of Mrs Austen and his sisters, and did so in a letter to Henry Austen requesting that he keep this offer secret from the ladies.

Here is part of Henry’s illuminating reply to him:

With the proudest exultations of maternal tenderness the Excellent Parent has exclaimed that never were Children so good as hers. She feels the magnificence of your offer, and accepts of half. I shall therefore honor her demands for 50 pounds annually on your account. James had the day before yesterday communicated to me & Her his desire to be her Banker for the same annual assistance, & l as long as I am an Agent shall do as he does. – If Edward does the least he ought, he will certainly insist on her receiving a £100 from him. So you see My Dear E, that with her own assured property, & Cassandra’s, both producing about £250 per ann., She will be in the receipt of a clear £450 pounds per Ann.

They only remained in Gay Street for six months before moving once again, this time to Trim Street, a narrow lane in the darker and cheaper part of town.

Trim Street

At this time, the family could not afford the social entertainment that they may have enjoyed in former years.

The Jane Austen centre in Bath, provides us with an insight into Jane's life in the city and the life that was going on around her at that time, as illustrated in some of her novels. The centre is housed in No 40 Gay Street, in a Georgian town house, similar to the type that Jane would have lived in during her time at No25 Gay Street.



tea antiques and Jane Austen

austen only./bath

Austen werd geboren in Hampshire. Haar vader was een geestelijke. Het grootste deel van haar leven bleef zij in haar geboortestreek. Austen had zes broers en een oudere zuster, Cassandra, met wie zij zeer hecht was. Het enige onbetwiste portret van Jane Austen is een gekleurde schets die door Cassandra werd gemaakt en nu in de National Portrait Gallery in Londen hangt. In 1801 verhuisde de familie naar Bath. In 1802 werd Austen ten huwelijk gevraagd door de rijke Harris Bigg-Wither en zij stemde toe; de volgende dag deelde ze echter mee dat zij haar woord niet kon houden en trok haar instemming in. De reden hiervoor is niet bekend, maar Austen is nooit getrouwd. Na de dood van haar vader in 1805 woonden Jane, haar zuster en haar moeder daar nog verscheidene jaren tot zij in 1809 naar Chawton verhuisden. Hier had haar rijke broer Edward een landgoed met een plattelandshuisje, dat hij aan zijn moeder en zusters schonk (dit huis is tegenwoordig open voor het publiek). Zelfs nadat zij naam gemaakt had als romanschrijfster bleef zij in relatieve stilte leven, maar haar gezondheid ging sterk achteruit. Er wordt nu aangenomen dat zij de ziekte van Addison had, waarvan toen de oorzaak nog onbekend was. Ze reisde naar Winchester om behandeling te zoeken, maar stierf daar en werd begraven in de kathedraal.
Tot Austens beroemdste werk behoort de roman Emma. Het boek wordt vaak aangehaald vanwege de perfectie van vorm. Moderne critici blijven ook nieuwe perspectieven ontdekken op het scherpe commentaar van Austen betreffende de klasse van jonge, ongehuwde, aristocratische Engelse vrouwen in de vroege 19e eeuw.


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Fashion - Regency 1

Edward Austen Leigh wrote down this description of Jane's appearence in the years just after the family left Southampton.

"She was tall and slender; her face was rounded with a clear brunette complexion and bright hazel eyes.

Her curly brown hair escaped all round her forehead, but from the time of her coming to live at Chawton she always wore a cap, except when her nieces had her in London and forbade it."

Henry Austen said of his sister, " Her stature rather exceeded the middle height; her carriage anad deportment were quiet but graceful; her complexion of the finest texture, it might with truth be said that her eloquent blood spoke through her modest cheek." Henry applied these lines to Jane: " Her pure and eloquent blood spake in her cheeks and so distinctly wrought that you had almost said her body thought."

Austen's niece Caroline recollected: "As to my aunt's personal appearance, hers was the first face I can remember thinking pretty. Her face was rather round than long, she had a bright, but not a pink colour—a clear brown complexion, and very good hazel eyes. Her hair, a darkish brown, curled naturally, it was in short curls around her face. She always wore a cap