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Portrait that brings you close to Austen to be sold

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: December 09, 2013

The portrait of novelist Jane Austen by James Andrews which  will be appearing on the new Bank of England £10 note from 2017, is expected to fetch £150,000 at Sotheby's English Literature and History Sale tomorrow

The portrait of novelist Jane Austen by James Andrews which will be appearing on the new Bank of England £10 note from 2017, is expected to fetch £150,000 at Sotheby's English Literature and History Sale tomorrow

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The portrait of novelist Jane Austen by James Andrews, which will be appear on the new Bank of England £10 note from 2017, goes under the hammer at Sotheby's tomorrow in London, where it is expected to fetch £150,000 at the auction house's English Literature and History Sale.

It was commissioned by a kindly Victorian vicar to portray his beloved aunt, a woman he described as: "Very attractive; her figure was rather tall and slender, her step light and firm, and her whole appearance expressive of health and animation."

The portrait that came about is widely, although not universally, acknowledged, as being as close to showing what Jane Austen truly looked like as is possible.

The portrait has been reproduced innumerable times and an engraving of it will be used on the next £10 note.

"We've seen this portrait thousands of times but this original watercolour has not been very widely seen because it has always remained in the Austen family," said Sotheby's literature specialist, Gabriel Heaton. "Seeing it just brings you a little bit closer to the real person."

Most Austen experts have been happy to believe the likeness to be the real deal. But when Sotheby's announced its sale, by coincidence one Austen biographer complained that it was, in fact, "a Victorian airbrushing" of the writer. Paula Byrne told Radio 4's Today programme: "Jane Austen is the funniest writer, and she's been made to look dim witted."

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  • NICHOLASENNOS  |  December 15 2013, 8:31PM

    While this is a pretty picture of Jane Austen, it is not a portrait of the author. As I prove in my recently published book "Jane Austen - a New Revelation" the true author of the Jane Austen novels was her cousin Eliza de Feuillide. Eliza could not publish them under her own name as she was the secret illegitmate daughter of Warren Hastings, the Governor General of India. There are just two portrait miniatures of Eliza de Feuillide, one as a teenager and one as a young woman. They can both be found on the internet.

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