Engraving of Godmersham Park

Object name: Framed coloured tint engraving of Godmersham Park

Object number: CHWJA:JAH424

Category: Object

Description: Framed coloured tint engraving of Godmersham Park dated 1st May 1785, by William Watts (1752-1851). Inscribed ‘Godmersham Park in Kent, the Seat of Thomas Knight Esq.’

Made: 1785

Context: Godmersham Park, situated eight miles southwest of Canterbury in Kent, was one of three large estates inherited by Jane’s brother Edward from his third cousin, Thomas Knight II, and was the one he chose to make his main family home. Jane Austen regularly visited her brother and his family at Godmersham and enjoyed what she described as the ‘elegance & ease & luxury’ of Godmersham life. It undoubtedly provided her with much inspiration for the great houses she wrote about in her novels.

William Watts, an English engraver, published a series of 84 plates titled ‘The seats of the nobility and gentry: in a collection of the most interesting & picturesque views’ between 1779 and 1786, and included Godmersham Park in the collection.

Edward’s eldest son and heir, Edward Knight II, preferred to make Chawton House in Hampshire his family home and sold Godmersham Park in 1874. Today the Grade 1 listed house is owned by the Association of British Dispensing Opticians and used as a training college.

A depiction of Godmersham Park appears with Jane Austen on the reverse of the current £10 note.

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