Sunday, December 15, 2019

Jane Austen's Birthday



In honor of Jane Austen's birthday on December 16th I'd like to repost an article I wrote after we visited her last home in Chawton, England.  This was on our very first trip to England in 2015 and forever made my heart want to return to that green and pleasant land.





 Today is the last day of our wonderful adventure in the beautiful English countryside.  We have had a wonderful visit to England!  It has been nearly perfect for us.  We have seen and done more than one could imagine.  Today there is enough time to see Jane Austen's home in Chawton before we get back on the Queen Mary 2 in Southampton this afternoon.  Come along with us as we visit the last home of Jane Austen in the village of Chawton.




Jane Austen lived in this house with her mother, and sister Cassandra, from 1809 until 1817.  Jane revised her manuscript for Sense and SensibilityPride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey and wrote Mansfield Park and Emma and Persuasion while living in this home.








After buying our tickets we are directed to the back of the house to see the Bakehouse.


Bakehouse

We then watched a short movie about the life of Jane Austen and then went around the side to see the kitchen.  Here are our clothes to put on while we work in the kitchen.






After working in the kitchen we need to go outside and see some of the garden before we enter the home.  It's a sunny warm day to enjoy walking around the lovely gardens that surround the home.








I'm looking forward to seeing the home of such an accomplished writer.  Of course, she received much more acclaim after her death, as is the case of so many writers.




"There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." Jane Austen





 I love this chaise lounge in the drawing room of the home!  The wallpaper throughout the home is Laura Ashley.  It's not original to Jane Austen's time.  Here is a framed piece of some of the original wallpaper.




Also in the front parlor is a piano.  Jane entertained her family by playing pianoforte and reading to them.  Jane continued to take piano lessons well into her twenties which speaks to her love of music.  She often rose early to practice.  Like the characters she wrote about, Jane was an accomplished pianst.




In the parlor we see Jane's desk (table) she used to write her novels!  It's so small!!  I can't begin to imagine using this to write on!




“It isn't what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.”
 Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility





Going upstairs we see the bedroom of Jane and her sister Cassandra.  The two sisters were very close.  Cassandra must have been devastated when Jane passed away at the age of forty one.




Cassandra's Sampler

Wash basin and chamber pot that is housed in closet 

Laura Ashley Wallpaper

In the Admiral's bedroom there is a red and white quilt top on the bed.  Jane's brothers were in the Royal Navy.  Francis Austen became Admiral of the Fleet and was knighted by King William IV.





This amazing quilt was stitched by Jane, Cassandra and her mother.  Although the quilt is really a coverlet as it only has a top and bottom.  The pieces were made from material of their nieces cotton clothing.  The Caen lace shawl belonged to their niece, Fanny Knight.




The coverlet is behind glass and is no longer on Jane's bed.  If you are a quilter you will really appreciate the border and its intricacies!  They are so tiny!

Here are a couple pieces of Jane's jewelry that are displayed in cases.




The bracelet is so delicate and lovely.  It was passed down through the family.




Jane received the topaz cross from her brother Charles in 1801.  Jane was inspired to write about it in Mansfield Park as the amber cross Fanny Price receives from her brother.

Jane Austen's health became so bad that she had to seek medical care in Winchester.  It is believed she suffered with Addison's disease.  Sadly she passed away soon thereafter.  She was buried in Winchester Cathedral.  There is a copy of the inscription that is at Winchester.




There is also a plaque at Westminster Abbey in memory of Jane in Poets Corner.

JANE AUSTEN 1775 1817

She was the daughter of a country clergyman, George Austen, and his wife Cassandra (Leigh) and was born at the rectory at Steventon in Hampshire on 16 December 1775. In her books she portrayed the society and manners of the life to which she belonged: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The family later moved to Bath and after her father's death she lived in the village of Chawton. Although she had several suitors Jane never married. She died in Winchester on 18 July 1817.




As we are leaving Jane's home we see this charming cottage next door!




Cassandra's Cup Tearoom and Bistro is across the street from Jane's home.  I wish we could go for a cup of tea, but we have a ship we need to board!











27 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday, dearest Jane Austen!!! ♥

    Thank you for the reminder, dear ME!!!

    One day I hope to be blessed to see these things in person - but if not I certainly have enjoyed again this wonderful informative post. Thank you.

    Big hugs.

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    1. Michele, Jane Austen has certainly touched many hearts. Thank you for joining me recognizing the birthday of a dear writer that we love. ♥

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  2. Jane Austen left an indelible mark on English literature! It is difficult to think of her death at only 41 years old, and yet she accomplished so much in those short years. I was before, and am again, stuck by the size of her writing desk. I agree that it is hard to imagine her writing such great works from such a small (and uncomfortable?) space!

    As a homebody myself, I love the quote you referenced: There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.

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    1. Cheryl, you are so right, Jane Austen left an indelible mark on English literature! Samuel just finished a semester studying British literature and her works were included. This grandmother was thrilled to be able to discuss Jane Austen with him.
      "There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort." ♥

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  3. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of summer gardens and her wonderful home. What a treasure she was.
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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    1. Thank you for enjoying a small glimpse of Jane Austen with me, Teresa. ♥

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  4. The most important day of the year! I loved my visit to Chawton, this brought back wonderful memories.
    Amalia
    xo

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    1. I'm so happy to hear you have visited Chawton, Amalia. It's a very special place indeed. ♥

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  5. How wonderful for you to visit, and to share this in honour of her birthday. Yes, those quilt pieces are tiny and would have taken hours upon hours of painstaking stitching by hand to create that border. The only time I have worked with such tiny pieces is making miniature quilts from the inch square sample swatches received from vendors. It's painstaking enough stitching a few dozen together to make a miniature doll quilt, never mind the thousands in that, which also must be cut first! My goodness.

    ~~~Waving~~~From Across the Pond~~~Deb in Wales xoxo

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    1. The painstaking process to produce such beauty in those tiny pieces is true artistry. The quilting I have done in the past compares in no way to such beauty. I believe I am remembering the small quilt pieces you hand pieced, Deb. My eyes would not be able to do this kind of work. xoxo ♥

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  6. This is a wonderful repost in memory of Jane Austen's birthday on December 16th.

    All the best Jan

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  7. I love this, Martha Ellen. I always loved Jane Austen's work and was curious about her home. I would love to visit. It looks like a very good tour. You'd recommend?

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    1. Oh yes, Jeanie. Since you love Jane Austen, you would love visiting her last home. It's very special in my opinion.

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  8. Wow. She died so young. What a wonderful post about her. Thank you, Martha Ellen! We enjoyed finding some of her haunts with our daughter in 2004! We are hoping for at least one more trip to Great Britain. Hope all is coming together for your Christmas festivities. :)

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    1. Jane Austen really lived in quite a few place in England, didn't she Ellen? We really enjoyed our visit to her last home. She left a wealth of beloved stories for the ages. ♥

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  9. Nice repost in memory of Jane's birthday. Lovely person she was and so talented.

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  10. This was a pleasant reminder of your trip to visit Jane Austin’s home. That quilt with the intricate border is amazing. I would never have the patience to do it!

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    1. I wouldn't either, Liz! Even if I did, small handwork is hard on my eyes now.

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  11. A charming home made moreso by the lovely work the ladies there did. I am surprised that she accomplished so much in her short lifespan. Truly amazing.

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    1. Women filled their days with beautiful handwork. I so wish I could do more of that. Jane Austen also filled her short days with wonderful works that so far have stood the test of time. You are so right Vee, truly amazing. ♥

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  12. Happy Birthday Jane Austen. I enjoyed seeing the house she lived in. The brick outside her home is charming, and I love the kitchen and all the copper pots. The desk is gorgeous. I love dark traditional furniture like that. The gardens are green and groomed. And I would love to go across the street to the Tearoom and have a cup of tea with you, Martha Ellen. : )

    ~Sheri

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    1. Sheri, that would be so fun to have tea with you there or anywhere! ♥

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  13. This has been a real treat to tread in her shoes through your photos. Thank you Martha Ellen, an absolute treat to see.

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