Jane Austen was often in the company of the Bridges family at their home, Goodnestone Park, in Kent, after the marriage of her brother, Edward Austen, to their daughter, Elizabeth. genealogy/bridges In fact, that young couple spent the first years of their marriage living in Rowling House on the Goodnestone estate before inheriting Godmersham, located only a few miles away. Both Jane and Cassandra were often to be found visiting their brother and his increasing family (which eventually included eleven children) and it is no doubt here, that she first experienced some of the more socially elevated company that she would later write about. Indeed, she began First Impressions, the novel that would eventually become Pride and Prejudice, after a visit to the Goodnestone in 1796 janeausten .
Elizabeth Bridges, Edward’s wife, lived before her marriage at Goodnestone Park with her parents Sir Brook Bridges and Lady Fanny and, until they inherited Godmersham, Edward and Elizabeth lived in a smaller house on the Goodnestone estate (Rowling House). When Jane visited her brother, she was often entertained at Goodnestone with dinners and dances. seekingjaneausten
Portrait miniature of Elizabeth Bridges Knight wearing a white dress with a blue ribbon tied under corsage. Watercolor on ivory, oval.
2 1/2 x 2 inches (6.5 x 5 cm).
Initialed “T.H.” (lower right).
A fine portrait miniature of Jane Austen’s sister in law, Elizabeth Bridges (1773-1808) who married Edward Austen, the brother of Jane Austen. Edward took the name of his second cousin Mr. Knight on inheriting in 1812 his estates in Kent at Godmersham Park. They had 11 children.
This lot sold with an uncolored print of Godmersham Park by Watts.
Literature: Country Life. 27 July 1987, ill. p.111. Est. $2000 – 3000.
In August of 1796, Jane Austen made her first visit to Goodnestone Park, the home of Sir Brook Bridges, 3rd Baronet, and his wife Fanny (nee Fowler), who were the parents of her brother Edward’s wife, Elizabeth. Since their marriage in 1791, Edward and Elizabeth had been living at Rowling, a manor house within a stone’s throw of Goodnestone Park. As was her habit during her long sojourns in Kent (her initial visit lasted until October of 1796), Jane wrote her sister Cassandra to report:
“We are very busy making Edward’s shirts, and I am proud to say that I am the neatest worker of the party.” Her next letter sent more glamorous news: “We were at a Ball on Saturday. We dined at
Goodnestone and in the Evening danced two Country Dances and the Boulangeries. I opened the
Ball with Edwd Bridges…We supped there, and walked home at night under the shade of two Umbrellas.” Sounds quite nice, doesn’t it?
A lot of beautiful pictures of Goodnestone Park on elizabeth-bridges-austen