‘Excursions from Bath’

Object name: Excursions from Bath by Rev. Richard Warner

Object number: CHWJA: JAHB46

Category: Books

Description: Excursions from Bath, by Rev. Richard Warner. Published 1801. Printed by R. Cruttwell, published and sold by G.G. and J. Robinson. Bound in marbled paper with brown leather corners and spine; gilt decoration on spine with title, author and date

Made: 1801

Context: Richard Warner (1763–1857) was an English clergyman and prolific writer; he published many topographical books covering his travels around the country, including Excursions from Bath, as well as several books of sermons and a gothic novel, Netley Abbey.

Written as a series of letters, Excursions from Bath includes details of Rev. Warner’s visits to grand houses including Stourhead, Longleat and Fonthill, and to Farleigh Hungerford Castle which has been suggested as Jane Austen’s inspiration for Northanger Abbey. He also visits the ‘beautiful park of Mr Hartford’s seat, called Blaze-castle’, which Catherine Morland of course never gets to see.

This book originally belonged to Jane’s father and is signed on the title page ‘Geo. Austen 4 Sydney Terrace 1802’, the year after the family moved from Steventon to Bath. Mr Austen died in 1805 and Jane, along with her mother and sister Cassandra, moved to Southampton to live with Frank Austen (Jane’s fifth brother) and his new wife Mary.  By this stage the book was owned by Jane; her father’s inscription is crossed out and the flyleaf carries the inscription ‘J. Austen Southampton 1807’ in Jane Austen’s hand.

The book also carries ‘Ex Libris’ plates for the American journalist and writer Mildred Aldrich, Austen scholar Dr R.W. Chapman and Alberta H. Burke. It was Mrs Burke’s husband who donated the book to Jane Austen’s House in 1976 in memory of his wife, an avid Jane Austen fan and collector.

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