Jane Austen in Love

8 Sep — 5 Mar 2023

‘To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love’

Pride and Prejudice

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Jane Austen famously never married. She did, however, enjoy romance and flirtation.

This display explores Jane’s relationship with Tom Lefroy, a handsome young Irishman, when they were both just twenty years old. It brings together for the first time Tom’s portrait and the letter in which Jane told her sister Cassandra ‘I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy’, along with costumes worn by Jane and Tom in the film Becoming Jane (2007).

Soon afterwards Jane began writing First Impressions (later published as Pride and Prejudice), and created the character of Mr Darcy – a template for flawed romantic heroes to this day.

Letter 2, as it is known in Deidre LeFaye’s Jane Austen’s Letters, is part of the Blavatnik-Honresfield Collection of books and manuscripts. The letter will be shared between Jane Austen’s House and the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

This display will run from 8 September 2022 to 5 March 2023 and is free with House entry!

If you can’t make it to Chawton, you can view an online version of the exhibition here 💻

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