A statement from Jane Austen’s House

The plans for refreshing the displays and decoration of Jane Austen’s House have been misrepresented. Jane Austen lived during the era of slavery and the Abolition by Britain of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in 1807. We are increasingly asked questions about this by our visitors and it is therefore appropriate that we share the information and research that already exists on her connections to slavery and its mention in her novels. This information is widely accessible in the public domain. We would like to offer reassurance that we will not, and have never had any intention to, interrogate Jane Austen, her characters or her readers for drinking tea. We have been planning to refresh our displays and decoration at Jane Austen’s House for several years. The overarching aim of this long-term process is to bring Jane Austen’s brilliance and the extraordinary flourishing of creativity she experienced at the House to the heart of every visit. Since we are a museum of Jane Austen’s domestic and creative life, this interpretation will by its very nature include the Regency, Empire and Colonial contexts in which she grew up and lived and from which she drew inspiration for her works. This will be part of a layered and nuanced presentation which will be based on long established, peer reviewed academic research, alongside Jane Austen’s own words and our collection. We firmly believe that placing Austen in the context of her time at her home will only make her genius shine more brightly.