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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Definitive Jane Austen portrait on sale

What did the creator of the world of romantic fiction look like? 

According to her nephew, Rev. James Edward Austen-Leigh, she was "a clear brunette with a rich colour".

"She had full round cheeks, with mouth and nose small and well formed, bright hazel eyes, and brown hair forming natural curls close round her face...she never was seen, either morning or evening, without a cap."

What a charming picture!  It seems little wonder, knowing this, that the Rev. James commissioned a portrait of her to accompany his biography, a portrait that has never been out of the family, but is now up for sale.

The watercolour, estimated to fetch about two hundred thousand pounds, was based on a sketch made by Jane's sister Cassandra, and will be auctioned by Sotheby's in December.

Even if it disappears into some dark mansion or the dim corridors of a museum that no one has ever heard of, it will be come familiar to her millions of fans, with the appearance of an etching based on the portrait on the British ten pound note.

Read more from the BBC

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