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Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Jane Austen Festival, Louisville

This festival sounds like great fun! The largest Jane Austen event in North America will take place 14-16 July at Louisville, KY, to celebrate the novelist's enduring legacy. It's sponsored by the Jane Austen Society of North America, Greater Louisville Region.
Dr Cheryl will give a talk on 'The Eulogy Jane Austen Should Have Had', and there will be tours of a Georgian home.
Visitors can enjoy delights including a Regency fashion show, a Grand Ball, afternoon tea, an Emporium, duelling gentlemen, bare-knuckle sparring, bobbin lace-making, archery and a Punch & Judy show.
On the Friday, Lord Nelson and Napoleon will attend, along with an encampment of His Majesty's Royal Navy.
Full dress for February 1805.
For more information, contact Bonny Wise, festival chair at
You should attend in Regency dress - I look forward to seeing the photos for this amazing event!
If you can't make it to the festival, there's an updated list of Jane Austen bicentenary events in the UK here on the Jane Austen 200 website.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Ladies of Llangollen

The foaming River Dee at Llangollen. 
Many thanks to Austen Authors for hosting my guest post on the Ladies of Llangollen's Romantic friendship this week! You can read my blog post here, and there are lots more interesting goodies to explore here on Austen Authors!
There's some more photos of the Ladies' home, Plas Newydd, here on the Llangollen website.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Upcoming Highlights!

January fashions for 1805, Lady's Monthly Museum.
I hope you all had a lovely peaceful Christmas and New Year with family and friends. It's back to normal now after the break - I have got a lot of work to get through in the next few weeks, so my blog may be quiet for a little while. But watch out for my feature on Jane Austen coming soon in the Discover Your Ancestors bookazine, and we have got all the Jane Austen 200 celebrations this year to look forward to, in honour of the bicentenary of her death. Upcoming and ongoing events are listed here.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Merry Xmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you all have a peaceful break with family and friends.
'The road is gay now'. Hugh Thomson illustration of a frosty scene for Mary Russell Mitford, Our Village, Macmillan & Co., 1893.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Treasures on Display: Jane Austen Among Family and Friends

Exciting news for Janeites, especially if you live in, or plan to visit, London in the New Year! To mark the bicentenary of Jane Austen's death, the British Library will stage a new display in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures Gallery.
For the first time in four decades, the three notebooks which Austen kept of her teenage writings, plus family letters and memorabilia, will be reunited and on display to the general public.
Volume the First includes short plays and stories such as 'The Beautiful Cassandra'; Volume the Second includes Austen's wonderful 'History of England By a partial, prejudiced, & ignorant Historian', 'Lesley Castle', and 'Love and Freindship'; and Volume the Third includes 'Effusions of Fancy' and 'Catharine'.
Austen's writing desk will also be on display with these treasures from the British Library and Bodleian Library collections.
'Jane Austen Among Family and Friends' will be on show from 10 January 2017 – 19 February 2017.
Image from Austen's 'History of England', with illustrations by Cassandra Austen, courtesy of, and copyright, the British Library.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Lansdown Crescent, Bath

'Could it be Mr Elliot? They knew he was to dine in Lansdown Crescent. It was possible that he might stop in his way home, to ask them how he did'.  This mention of Lansdown Crescent in Persuasion is a testament to Mr Elliot's eligibility, as it was a very fashionable street.
The Historic and Local New Bath Guide (1802) describes the Crescent (at one time known as the Upper Crescent) as a 'grand and stately pile of buildings that seems to crown the city'.
Residents enjoyed picturesque views of the 'town sloping to the Avon; on the west, the valley winding towards Bristol, diversified by the hands of nature and art in the most elegant manner; hills swelling over hills, and vales intersecting vales, adorned with woods, lawns and gardens, display their several charms'.
In April 1805, after attending church, Jane Austen and her mother visited the Irvine family at 19 Lansdown Crescent to take tea with them.One of the Crescent's more famous residents (several years after Jane Austen's death) was William Beckford, the author of Vathek.
Image: The Album of Bath Views, Charles, Reynolds & Co., c.1890.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Catholic Emancipation

If you were a Roman Catholic (or Dissenter) during Jane Austen’s day, your social opportunities were very limited owing to the Test Acts. During the late 17th century, legislation was introduced so that only Anglicans could hold public office (military or civil), go to Oxford or Cambridge University, or study law. So Catholics (and Dissenters and Jews) were in effect banned from many professions. Catholics could not inherit land, or have their own schools. (The Book of Common Prayer still included a special service giving thanks for the nation’s deliverance from the Gunpowder Plot by rogue Catholics in 1605).
The Prince of Wales’ secret marriage to Catholic actress Maria Fitzherbert in 1785 put his succession to the throne in jeopardy – luckily for him, their union was illegal under the Royal Marriages Act of 1772. 
By late Georgian times, religious groups began campaigning to repeal the Test Acts. But popular sentiment was against change – people believed that the church and state would be endangered if Catholic ‘emancipation’ was 
The Gordon riots.
granted. When even modest reforms were proposed, violent ‘No Popery’ protests, such as the ‘Gordon Riots’ of 1780, broke out in England and Scotland. It was not until 1829 that the Catholic Emancipation Act swept away most remaining civil disabilities for non-Anglicans.
An encounter between Mrs. Fitzherbert and Mrs. Schwellenberg (the Queen’s lady-in-waiting) each with a ‘second’: the Prince of Wales, his hands on his lady's waist, and William Pitt holding out a lemon to the furious German lady. C.1789. Courtesy Library of Congress, LC-USZC4-6452.
‘No Popery’ rioters burn down Newgate prison during the Gordon Riots of June 1780.  Cassell’s Illustrated History of England, Vol. VI, Cassell, Petter & Galpin, c.1864.