1 October 2023 Susannah

Book Addict Admires a Literary Statue – Jane Austen

Jane Austen statue at Willis Museum Basingstoke

Well of course this month my choice of statue is a simple one – Jane Austen.

In 2017, the bicentenary of her death, the world’s first statue of Jane Austen was unveiled (by the Countess of Portsmouth) in the town of Basingstoke. The life-sized, bronze statue was commissioned by the Hampshire Cultural Trust, and was designed by artist Adam Roud. It shows Jane walking through the marketplace, a book tucked under her arm. The first twenty-five years of her life were spent in the nearby village of Steventon, and she knew Basingstoke well, so it was an appropriate place for the statue to be erected. To me, the astonishing thing is that it took so long for a statue of her to be made?

I’m not the only person delighted with the statue. Biographer Claire Tomalin commented: “Nothing could be better than a statue of Jane Austen hurrying across the market square to collect library books, do a little shopping or pick up her mother from Dr Lyford’s house – living the busy family into which she fitted the writing that has made her world famous.”

We don’t have a really clear idea of what Jane Austen looked like because the surviving portraits are amateurish and / or touched up. However, this statue satisfies me – she looks neat and elegant (which we know was the case) and I love the fact she holds a book.

There is now a replica of the statue at St Nicholas Church in Chawton. I wish I could have one for my back garden!!!

What do you think of this statue? Tell me by leaving a comment here.

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Header image- Jane Austen statue at Willis Museum Basingstoke, https://www.lovebasingstoke.co.uk/explore/be-inspired/history-and-heritage-in-basingstoke
Body image- Jane Austen statue, Basingstoke, by Tom and Lorenzo, https://twitter.com/tomandlorenzo/status/887333473542955009/photo/3

Comments (6)

  1. Miland Joshi

    She looks nice, but I note that her eyes are wide opening and observant. Is this what writers do, notice everything as grist for their mill?

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Glad you like it too. I think writers must have penetrating eyes to see the way they do, and Jane Austen was incredibly shrewd and observant.

  2. John

    Perhaps you can arrange for one for your back garden: there must have been a mould somewhere; it probably still exists; if you can find it, perhaps via the Hampshire Cultural Trust. you might be able to do something about it. It would not necessarily need to be brought to Australia: it is amazing what 3D printers can do nowadays, and they are far more common than one might reasonably expect.

    I agree it is a fine and suitable statue. I am surprised that Bath does not have one, not counting of course what is outside the Jane Austen Centre there.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Yes, Bath ought to have a good statue of our Jane!
      I think my husband might have a fit if we had a 3D staue of her in the back garden!

  3. Shanti Shoemaker

    I have never seen this statue, and I’m pleased with the rendition of her face too. The eyes have something of Cassie’s drawing, but the thiner more handsome face seems right to my imaginings. I’m enjoying your literary sculpture series!

    • Susannah Fullerton

      My statue series has been fun to do. I’m glad you also like the one of Jane Austen. There will be a new series next year, so watch for the January edition.

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