Friday, November 25, 2016

Exciting News - The Rice Portrait is to be exhibited!

The Rice Portrait of Jane Austen


EXCITING NEWS! The speaker at the Cambridge branch of the Jane Austen Society birthday lunch on December 10th this year is Ellie Bennett who will be talking about her latest research on the Rice Portrait. THE RICE PORTRAIT WILL BE EXHIBITED AT QUEENS' COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE. The painting has not been seen in public for many years but the current owner, Anne Rice, is bringing this stunning portrait to Cambridge for the society to see. There may be some tickets for the lunch available at £41 per head for a sparkling wine reception, and a 3 course sumptuous lunch in rooms that would have been known to some of Jane's family and friends. If you cannot make lunch there is still an opportunity to view the painting! Please message Hazel Mills for more details - hazel j mills at gmail dot com.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November news - Writing, Oldham Book Festival and the latest news on the Rice Portrait!



New Books in the pipeline news

I've been a little quiet on my blog recently, but that's because I've been busy writing and working on another two books, which I hope will be coming out over the course of the next couple of years. It's a little early to give too much away, but the first, another time travel novel, is inspired by Jane Austen's wonderful book Northanger Abbey, and like Searching for Captain Wentworth is set partly in Bath with heroines and their heroes living in both the past and present. I've enjoyed spending time researching this book so much - one of the joys of writing for me is the time spent in another time period reading up on history, and also visiting places for inspiration. It's never a hardship to visit places like Bath where Jane Austen visited and spent some time living in the city or Kent where she spent time visiting her relatives.  I love the fact there are always fresh opportunities to learn new things, and it's so easy in such atmospheric and inspiring settings to find you can lose yourself in another time.
The second book will have to be kept a complete secret just at the moment, as I'm always a little superstitious before a novel is finished and in the editing stage, but it's a little sidestep departure from the kind of book I normally do and I'm loving writing it.



Oldham's Bookmark Festival 2017

It's always very exciting to be asked to give a talk, and in celebration of Jane Austen's life for the 200th anniversary next year I've been asked to appear at the Oldham Book Festival in April to talk about my books. There'll be more details later but I know they have some lovely plans in mind to hold a book signing, afternoon tea, and a film screening for the event. It feels particularly special to me, as one of my grandmothers came from Lancashire, and she was always so encouraging of my writing efforts as a young child. Her passion was for Georgette Heyer, and I was always intrigued by the beautiful covers with beautiful illustrations of Regency heroines, and dashing heroes. I hope to update with more news soon!


Last, but not least, I've been following Ellie Bennet's blog on Jane Austen portraits - her research is impeccable and her findings fascinating. Here's a taster of her latest blog, and a link so you can read the whole article.

Jane Austen, The Rice Portrait and the National Portrait Gallery - Ellie Bennett

“A mistake repeated more than once is a decision” Paulo Coelho


Is the Rice Portrait truly a portrait of a young Jane Austen?



It is a question which has been the subject of intense debate and disagreement between its supporters and detractors, a debate which has raged on for decades.


In recent years a steady flow of evidence has emerged supporting the long held belief of the portrait’s owners that the Rice Portrait is genuine. And yet the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) continues to deny that the portrait is either of Jane Austen or by Ozias Humphry, insisting that it dates from the early nineteenth century. They justify this on the grounds of the dating of the costume and the stamp on the back of the canvas, notwithstanding the evidence that has been produced demonstrating that both dress and stamp could potentially date to before 1800. Why is there such reluctance on the part of the NPG to accept any of this new evidence? 

To read more of the article, please click here.