Miniature of Lizzy and Marianne Knight

Object name: Miniature on ivory

Object number: CHWJA:JAH32

Category: Object

Description: Miniature on ivory depicting Lizzy and Marianne Knight, two of Jane Austen’s nieces, in an ebonised and gilt metal mounted frame. Early 19th Century English School. Artist unknown.

Made: c.1805

Context: Lizzy and Marianne Knight were two of Jane’s brother Edward’s eleven children.  The girls, aged 5 and 4 years respectively at the time this portrait was made,  are depicted wearing white dresses with pink sashes and coral necklaces.  Marianne is holding a tiny basket of cherries to which Lizzy is helping herself.

Within the family,  Marianne was said to resemble Jane Austen. In May 1819, James Austen’s younger daughter Caroline wrote of her cousin Marianne ‘She is certainly I think pretty, but I never saw her look anything like beautiful.  Her greatest personal recommendation to me is being very like poor Aunt Jane.’

The miniature was purchased at auction in 1991 from a descendant of Lizzy Knight.

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