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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Austen Keepsakes in a Scrapbook

Having returned from my UK trip, I suddenly had plenty of Austen-related paraphernalia with me: postcards, brochures, entrance tickets etc. I decided to keep these things and store them in a tiny scrapbook, which I could browse whenever I felt like reminiscing all the fascinating places I visited. 

I purchased this postcard at the National Portrait Gallery, where I had the chance to see the one and only certain life portrait of Jane Austen, sketched by Cassandra Austen. The portrait was stored in a glass case in Room 18 of the Romantics Gallery, and I was surprised to see how tiny the portrait really was – the postcard is, in fact, larger than the portrait itself! It is a pencil sketch with light colouring on and around the face, appearing somewhat incomplete. 

On the next page, I stuck two brochure cut-outs of other Austen portraits.  The one on the left is a silhouette that was discovered in an early edition of Pride and Prejudice. Behind the silhouette were the words ‘L’aimable Jane’, convincing some that this was indeed a silhouette of Jane Austen. The picture on the right is an engraving of the original portrait by Cassandra Austen – pretty but with a slightly different look on Jane’s face.

I purchased this lovely postcard at Jane Austen’s House in Chawton. It displays the various places in Hampshire that Jane lived in and visited.

On the next page, I stuck a helpful brochure for a Jane Austen trail in Alton and Chawton, provided by Alton Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I used this as a guide on my trip to Chawton and Alton.

The next page has pictures of Hampshire: Steventon Church, which I’m sorry to have missed on my trip, and Chawton. There is also a small introduction to the Jane Austen Exhibition, which I saw at Winchester Cathedral. I like the sentence at the top of the brochure: ‘It is a truth universally acknowledged that a visitor to Hampshire must be in search of an appreciation of Jane Austen’!

These pictures are of the various rooms in Jane Austen’s House at Chawton (from the museum brochure) and my entrance ticket to the museum.

This rather crumpled-up cut-out from a brochure, which I received at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, shows the Austen family tree.

I bought this crowded, yet informative postcard at the Jane Austen Centre, displaying the different places that Jane Austen stayed in and where the characters of her novels venture out in Bath.

The next page is dedicated to Bath, with my entrance tickets to the Georgian House Museum and the Fashion Museum/Assembly Rooms.

Jane Austen’s iconic writing desk deserved to have a page of its own.

This postcard from the Jane Austen Centre is of a letter sent by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra – her friend and confidante. Jane sent this letter from Queen Square and in it she describes how pleased she is with their lodgings, as opposed to their earlier rooms at the Paragon.  It is amazing, as always, to read her handwriting, which is as stable as print and a piece of art by itself.

Finally, the below cut-out from the Jane Austen Centre brochure displays the chronology of Jane Austen’s life, from her parents’ marriage to the posthumous publication of her books.

Have you made similar scrapbooks of your trips?


  1. Anna, a wonderful collection of memorabilia.
    This experience will stay with you for the rest of your life. I can tell.


    PS So, what's next?

  2. Thanks for your speedy comment, Tony!

    What's next? We'll see :) Any ideas?

  3. London, could keep you occupied for the rest of your life. What do you think, Anna?

    There are so many themes, topics etc that you could follow.

    Thomas Hardy's Dorset is always close to my heart. I was a Hardy fan before I became a Jane Austen fan

    The film, Far From the Madding Crowd, did it for me BIG TIME!!!!!!!.

    But, it's your choice. The world is your oyster, as they say.

  4. Well I have lived in London but prefer visiting the place to living there!! However, I would move to Bath any time, hehe.

    I'm also a fan of Thomas Hardy, and should definitely visit Dorset on my next trip. In the meanwhile, I will continue with Jane Austen :)

  5. Anna, this is not the place I know, to ask you this, but I have no other way of contacting you. Could I use your picture of The Abbey School in Reading? I want to write a post about Jane and the process she went through to become educated.

    As you know Jane had very little formal education but there are so many aspects of her upbringing and situation in life as well as her personal qualities which enabled her to become the author she was and the person she was. I want to pick out key elements of her experience which created a passionate intelligent and brilliant writer.
    As you know I am a teacher so intend to tie this in with current teaching practice ideas and theories.
    All the best,

  6. @Tony: Thanks for checking - yes, you may use the the picture and you can also link it to my post :) It will be interesting to read more about her education or the lack of it!

  7. I know how time consuming scrapbooking is, and this one is a phenomenal

  8. @Vic: Yes, it does tend to be time-consuming, but I was so into this one that I finished it in one evening! It's a tiny one, though :)

  9. I found it! There was no link on your comment on my blog! I will now add sleuth to my resume. :)

    Your scrapbook is just wonderful! It was so cold and windy when we visited Bath that we warmed up behind one building in order to build the stamina to run behind the next. Suffice it to say, our visitations in Bath were slim.

    So you live in England!? What wonderful access you have! Our trip was from California, but our son had just completed a "semester abroad" at Oxford, so we traveled to meet him at the end and see a bit of your home! I would be back in a flash if I could! Don't you think the first visit anywhere, raises more questions? I have an insatiable curiosity now!

    Thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog! I'll post a comment there with a link to your post.


  10. My apologies . . . when I returned, your link worked! Blogger has been a bit off it's game today . . . maybe that's all it was! Thank you, again!

  11. @Debbi, sleuth indeed, hehe! Thank you for your comment. I don't live in England at the moment, I took the photos when I visited my brother in the summer. He lives in Oxford, too. I wish I did live in England!


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