Saturday, 7 January 2017



Thrill of the year so far ... a behind-the scenes visit to the British Library a few days ago where I couldn't believe my luck that I was sitting at a table with Jane Austen's three fat leatherbound notebooks     open in front of me. What a treat to see them up close: thinking that the covers are so well-worn because Jane, during her teen years, spent so many hours working away on these little stories to amuse her family. This page was my favourite - from her History of England, illustrated by her sister Cassandra - with their mother Mrs Austen caricatured as Elizabeth, looking rather as if she's giving a stern ticking-off to a meek, rosy-cheeked Jane in the guise of Mary, Queen of Scots. On my way out, I paid a visit to Jane's little writing desk in the Treasures gallery ... I always find her tiny spectacles rather moving and imagine a sardonic look from her down the centuries! (The notebooks will go on display from next week.)

3 comments:

Veronica Cooke said...

Mary,

You do get to the most interesting places!

I must try and get to London more often to see all the wonderful exhibitions etc. I'm ashamed to say I've never even been to the V&A despite having wanted to for years. My 2017 promise - more culture and less charity shopping!

The illustrations in the notebook are fabulous - what gifted sisters the Austen's were.

Mary said...

Oh, Veronica - you must go to the V&A! You could a spend day there easily. Would it entice you if I told you that there's a good street of charity shops just round the corner? (Bit pricey by charity shop standards; but often lovely things as it's a bit of a French quarter ... not that French women come in my size!)

Veronica Cooke said...

Oh yes, it most certainly would!

Seriously, I'm determined to make it to the V&A this year. I don't make resolutions as such but I do want to tick this one off. Who knows if I'll be able to go up to London independently in the future - do it now, Veronica!!