Jane Austen

Jane Austen; life, letters and early works
jane austen
A programme lasting seventy minutes approx, including
a performance of THE THREE SISTERS by Jane Austen aged fifteenAnd with slides of paintings, drawing, portraits, mementoes and silhouettes including:Jane’s childhood copy of GOODY TWO SHOES, coloured by her own handIllustrations by Cassandra for her fifteen year old sister’s comic HISTORY OF ENGLAND;

Patchwork quilt made by Jane and her mother and sister;

Fashion plates of the day from the magazine THE GALLERY OF FASHION

Topaz crosses given to Jane and Cassandra by their sailor brother Charles


Illustrations by Jane’s contemporary Diana Sperling from her book of
lively watercolour sketches MRS HURST DANCING

With kind permission of Mrs. Neville Ollerenshaw

This programme has been given at the Hurlingham Club, London and to numerous
NADFAS (National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies) audiences.

It was not until the last years of her life that Jane Austen won fame. Much of her adult life was spent “no more regarded in society than a poker or a fire-screen.” Many pleasures sustained her; a love of country life; strong family affections and interests, which would last all her life long; a passion for writing; an enjoyment of reading, together with other resources of her wickedly observant mind. Jane had been born with a crazy sense of fun. As a teenager, she wrote short plays and novels filled with ludicrous adventures and farce. Her elder sister Cassandra produced caricatures to illustrate young Jane’s HISTORY OF ENGLAND. All their lives these two were close. In childhood their mother had said “If Cassandra were going to have her head cut off, Jane would insist on having hers cut off too!” In adulthood Cassandra was her sister’s critic, confidante and, says Jane “the finest letter-writer of the age.” After Jane’s death Cassandra would write of her sister “She was the sun of my life.”

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