Sotheby’s is auctioning a fake portrait of Jane Austen next month. As fake portraits go, this one is probably slightly less fake than some others. It was commissioned by James Edward Austen-Leigh to be used to create an engraving as a frontispiece to Austen-Leigh’s 1869 Memoir of his aunt. The painting was done by James Andrews of Maidenhead by tracing Cassandra Austen’s watercolor portrait of her sister. The engraving was later used as the basis of perhaps the best-known image of Austen, the infamous “wedding ring portrait” included in a book of eminent persons.
There has been some concern expressed by our own correspondents over this sale, as it is feared it will share the near-fate of Jane Austen’s turquoise ring, purchased and taken out of the country rather than added to a public collection; it would probably be nearly impossible to mount a second rescue mission by Janeites and the museum at Chawton as was done for the ring. However, we find it difficult to get very upset about the fate of this portrait. It is a nice little painting, and that’s it. It wasn’t taken from life, thought it was traced from a portrait that was so taken. However, in the dearth of such images taken from life, Janeites have created new icons of our favorite author. The painting certainly deserves to be part of a museum collection dedicated to Austen. It is to be hoped that whoever purchases it can preserve and display it for all to enjoy. austenblog
Het beroemde Jane Austen portret dat neefje James Edward Austen-Leigh liet maken van zijn geliefde schrijvende tante wordt geveild. Op 10 december is het een van de topstukken van de English literature and history sale van Sotheby’s in Londen. Geschatte waarde is £150.000-£200.000.
Het portret is in 1868, lang na Janes dood, geschilderd door James Andrews. Hij baseerde het op de schets die Cassandra Austen maakte van haar zus en op de beschrijving van James Edward. Die liet er later weer een gravure van maken om te gebruiken als frontispiece van zijn Jane Austen memoires.