And now for a real piece of Austen memorabilia: most of the original manuscript of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, The Watsons, and the only manuscript still in private hands, will be auctioned at Sotheby’s on July 14.
The novel is considered around a quarter completed and the manuscript has 68 pages – hand-trimmed by Austen – which have been split up into 11 booklets.
It is most but not all of Austen’s unfinished novel. The first 12 pages were sold by an Austen descendent during the first world war to help the Red Cross and are now in New York’s Pierpoint Morgan Library, while the next few pages were inexplicably lost by Queen Mary, University of London which has been looking after the manuscript.
Hopefully some civic-minded and very rich Janeite will step up to purchase this delightful item and then let the rest of us see it once in a while!