Jane Austen, one of the world’s most famous authors, spent most of her life in the historic and beautiful county of Hampshire in the south of England. As part of my research project I have been studying her life and works, plus her fashion, style and her home here in Hampshire ( this was made easy for me as it’s also my home county!) Researching Jane’s life has been absolutely fascinating! I enjoyed creating watercolor art of Jane’s most treasured pastimes and as you scroll down this page you’ll see my art and pieces of information which I wanted to share about Jane, plus you can see fabrics and products which I created as a homage to Britain’s best author!
As July 18th 2017 marked the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death, I spent many months previous to this researching and watercolor painting items that represent Jane – her most favorite items, her quotes, her books, her pastimes, her likes and dislikes and hobbies. Using these watercolor paintings I created items which I think will make excellent gifts for Jane Austen fans. As you continue down this page I hope you’ll find my research interesting and I’m sure you’ll feel the essence of Jane.
Jane Austen loved to write, to read, to socialise and sew. Jane also loved eating and drinking! In one of her letters to her sister she says ” You know how interesting the purchase of a new sponge cake is to me” During my research, I found that Jane would have eaten Bundt cake, for breakfast, so that is the cake I painted. They did not have baking powder in those days, so it was very labour intensive and made by whisking many eggs. So, this protien rich cake with tea was how Jane started her day. She did purchase this cake rather than make it herself, but who can blame her. I’m sure she just wanted to get on with writing.
It was here, in the heart of Hampshire, that Jane Austen found inspiration to write such classics as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park and Sense and Sensibility. She wrote her famous works drawing on a large circle of friends, social gatherings and places around Hampshire that she visited to devise the characters and settings for her novel. Jane Austen spent the last eight years of her life in this country cottage in Hampshire from 1809 until 1817. In the Hampshire countryside Jane’s genius flourished and she felt relaxed and free to write. At Chawton, Hampshire, which is today naturally regarded as Jane’s literary home, Jane led a quieter life and resumed writing her novels.
Jane loved buying ribbons and flowers for her bonnets. She loved a good sewing party, even saying she was the best at sewing her brother’s shirts.
I also created a collection of ten new fabrics, wallpapers and giftwraps at my Spoonflower shop to commemorate this! https://www.spoonflower.com/collections/200781-jane-austen-regency-fashion-jane-ites-celebrating-janeausten200-bicentenery-by-magentarosedesigns
Jane kept the key to the tea cupboard on a chatelaine like the one in this fabric
Jane revised both Sense & Sensibility which was published in 1811 (and made Jane £140), and Pride & Prejudice, which was published in 1813. This was an instant success. All Jane’s novels that appeared during her lifetime were published anonymously, merely bearing the legend “By a Lady”, which was not uncommon at the time. Mansfield Park was published in 1814 and Emma in 1815. Persuasion was completed in 1816 but was not published until 1818, after Jane’s death in 1817. Northanger Abbey was also published in 1818.