(And yes, we know we are a bit remiss on reporting this, but wanted to close the loop.)
Or so one would think from some of the press surrounding the Jane Austen House Museum’s successful campaign to raise enough money to purchase Jane Austen’s turquoise ring for the same price that Kelly Clarkson paid for it, after the UK government raised some question about whether she would be allowed to take it back to the U.S. Check out some of the headlines:
Kelly Clarkson Loses Jane Austen Ring To Museum
She didn’t “lose it,” she was paid for it, and wisely accepted the same amount that she paid for the ring, avoiding an international incident.
Kelly Clarkson denied Jane Austen ring after museum campaign
Jane Austen ring to stay in Britain after museum beats Kelly Clarkson’s £150,000 bid
Hmm. Our understanding is that Kelly was paid what she paid for the ring–she was not “outbid.”
Kelly Clarkson won’t be getting her hands on Jane Austen’s ring after all
Kelly Clarkson ring purchase thwarted by Jane Austen fans
Well, excuuuuuuuuuse us.
The Mary Sue, a site we have been enjoying lately, got it just right.
MUSEUM SUCCESSFULLY BUYS BACK JANE AUSTEN’S RING FROM KELLY CLARKSON, CAN DESTROY SAURON NOW
BATTLE FOR JANE AUSTEN’S RING SETTLED & NOW KELLY CLARKSON KNOWS HOW JUSTIN GUARINI FELT
Okay, that’s funny.
Not completely incidentally, Ted Scheinman filed a funny, gossipy report from the JASNA AGM in the Paris Review that pretty much revealed the identity of the Anonymous Benefactor.
The Englishwoman manning the Chawton House table on floor three was far more coy. “Oh, you can unravel it,” she assured me. “Consider who can spend that kind of money, and then consider which of those people is, shall we say, involved at Chawton.”
Just as many of us thought. (Noted Janeite J.K. Rowling was the other main suspect.)
ETA: Tony Grant has written a wonderfully detailed overview of the whole episode with additional information about the ring itself at Jane Austen’s World.
Alert Janeite Cinthia let us know that the JA House Museum is now accepting online donations at http://www.justgiving.com/jamt/Donate. The suggested amounts are shown in your local currency–and you can change it to something different if you prefer. If you want to know how much the museum will receive in British pounds, Google “currency converter” and a converter appears at the top of the results.
If you can give, even a little, please do. If you can’t (and believe us, we know times are tough right now), please spread the news on social media and among your Janeite acquaintances.
More good news! Jane Austen’s House Museum has announced that an anonymous donor has contributed £100,000 towards the purchase of Jane Austen’s turquoise ring from Kelly Clarkson.
The museum has now raised enough to “show a serious expression of interest to buy the ring”.
It has until December to raise a further £49,000. The museum, in Chawton, Hampshire, is Jane Austen’s former home.
Thank you, anonymous donor! But there’s still a long way to go. Please read our post about how to donate and consider sending a donation if you are able, even a small one. We know times are tough for many of us right now, so if you can’t donate, spread the word! Twitter, Facebook, G+, wherever you hang out online, let everyone know about this campaign.
The campaign is over and won!
UPDATE about online donation: Alert Janeite Cinthia sent along the news that the Museum is now accepting online donations at http://www.justgiving.com/jamt/Donate. The donation amounts appear to be in your local currency (for me, it appeared in US Dollars) so if you want to check how much the Museum will actually get, use a currency converter. (Google “currency converter” and one will pop up at the top of the page.)
YES! Jane Austen’s House Museum has announced a fundraiser to raise money to purchase Jane Austen’s turquoise ring from Kelly Clarkson (see our previous post and the lively discussion that followed). We will contact the Museum and try to get more information. Let’s do this, Janeites!
UPDATE: We heard from Louise West, the director of the museum. She sent us a donation form. She said for international contributors, it will be better to use a credit card; with a check, they will lose money because of the exchange rate. For UK contributors, we imagine a cheque will be the best way to donate. Please download, print, and post your contribution–do not send a credit card number by email!
Also, if they do not receive enough money to purchase the ring, they will keep your donation for the operation of the museum, unless you let them know differently. (Seriously, just let them keep it. The Museum does great work and is a wonderful place to visit.)
Louise also sent the following statement about this fundraising effort:
We do want to stress that we are not wanting to buy the ring because we don’t approve of Kelly Clarkson’s ownership. Indeed we are very encouraged that someone who is young and very popular wants to own the ring; it says a lot about Jane Austen’s reputation among young people. We are trying to buy it now because we wish to keep the ring at Jane Austen’s home as we feel this is the most appropriate place. We tried to raise money before the auction but didn’t have enough time. Hopefully we now have.
Everyone please donate! Don’t forget to use airmail postage if necessary. Take the time to go to your local post office and make sure you have the right amount of postage. Let’s do this!
Press release after the jump: Continue reading
We didn’t mention this back when it happened because we were on our latest Unscheduled Blog Hiatus (cough), but a while back, singer and former American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson purchased a turquoise ring that once belonged to Jane Austen. However, because of the importance of the ring to British culture, the British government moved to block Miss Clarkson from taking the ring (which she apparently intended to wear as her engagement ring) out of the country.
We support this decision, for several reasons. The first is–look at it! She’s going to wear this as her engagement ring? Like, every day? It appears to our admittedly untrained eye to be in rather delicate condition for such a purpose. Secondly, it is just us, or is it a bit rude to swoop in with all your American Idol money (some of it the Editrix’s, as she purchased at least one of Miss Clarkson’s albums and actually rather likes her as a performer) and just buy up the cool toys and then hide them away? Or wear it on stage, all na-na-na, look at me and my Jane Austen ring, you poverty-stricken spinsters! (We doubt she meant it that way, but it feels that way.)
Look, Kelly, if you’re really that big of a Jane Austen fan–and we truly do not doubt that you are–do the right thing. Imitate Alberta Burke, possibly the greatest collector of Austeniana ever, who purchased the lock of Austen’s hair and then, while at a Jane Austen Society annual meeting, responded to complaints about Austen relics being taken out of the country by standing up and donating the lock to the Jane Austen Memorial Trust. It was done in pride and anger, but still–she did it. Mrs. Burke’s Austen letters went to the Morgan Library, and many of her other collectibles to Goucher College. She enjoyed them in her lifetime, and then donated them so that others might enjoy them (and many of us enjoyed those letters a couple of years ago at an exhibit at the Morgan Library). You have a lovely replica of the ring that your fiancé had made–and what a Mr. Knightleyish thing to do–that you can wear daily, secure in the knowledge that you’re not ruining an heirloom, and showing your love for Jane Austen every day.
Kelly, do the right thing: donate the ring to the Jane Austen Memorial Trust. Do it now, or later, but do it. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the Janeite thing to do.