Jane Austen's House Museum is proud to open the year with an announcement of this very important new acquisition. The manuscript letter, addressed to Jane’s niece Caroline and written on 13 March 1816, will be part of our Family, Friendship and Northanger Abbey display for four months from 1 February 2018.
Appearing as no. 137 in Deirdre Le Faye’s Jane Austen’s Letters (4th ed.) the letter shows Jane characteristically darting from one subject to another. She begins with a discussion of literature before offering Caroline news of visitors, family members and the ‘sad’ March weather. Written at her home in Chawton, now Jane Austen’s House Museum, Jane’s descriptions of her surroundings remain somewhat familiar to us today; when Jane complains to her niece ‘Our Pond is brimfull… & our walls are damp’, we think of Chawton’s persistently high water table as well as the ongoing maintenance of this unique village house.
The Museum has been able to secure the letter privately thanks to a grant awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund under its Collecting Cultures scheme. If you would like to make a personal contribution to the purchase, please donate via the main page of our JustGiving site.
Supporters may also be interested to learn that the 13 manuscript letters already held by the Museum have been brought together in Jane Austen: The Chawton Letters, a new illustrated book published by Bodleian Publications and edited by our trustee Professor Kathryn Sutherland.