Fan Art of Jane Austen to Be Auctioned


Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s not fan art.

A drawing of Jane Austen by an unknown artist–presumably an “imaginary portrait” by someone who did not know her–will be auctioned by Bonhams on March 29. From the website:

THIS IS THE EARLIEST OF THE SO-CALLED ‘IMAGINARY’ PORTRAITS OF JANE AUSTEN, thus listed by Deirdre Le Faye in her article ‘Imaginary Portraits of Jane Austen’ in Jane Austen Society Report, 2007, pp. 42-52 (a copy of which is included with the lot).

Le Faye suggests that the portrait ‘could be as early as 1818’, one year after Austen’s death. Le Faye comments: ‘This might well be a creation by the Revd William Jones (1777-1821), curate and vicar of Broxbourne and Hoddesdon – or if not him, someone with very similar interests. On 17th April 1818 Mr Jones confided to his diary: “Whenever I am much ‘taken with’ an author, I generally draw his or her likeness in my own fancy…”

The estimate is £1,000-2,000. Have fun if you want to bid! Feel free to come here and gloat if you win!

2 thoughts on “Fan Art of Jane Austen to Be Auctioned

  1. Julie

    Mr Jones’ diary comment is both adorable and awesome. I will have to get my hands on that article; the idea of people being moved to draw portraits of how they imagine their favorite authors is FASCINATING.


  2. I’ve never seen this “imaginary portrait” before; I hope it goes for a decent price and the new owner appreciates what the drawing says about the proud history of Jane Austen devotion, which would seem to stretch back as far as her lifetime! It is fun to see that this portrait, like all fan art, is more a portrayal of her reputation than of her person.


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