Original pen and ink drawings by Miss Ellen G. Hill

Object name: Original pen and ink drawings by Miss Ellen G. Hill.

Object number: CHWJA:JAH185.1 – JAH185.6

Category: Drawings

Description: Original pen and ink drawings by Miss Ellen G. Hill used to illustrate the biography Jane Austen: her home & her friends by her sister Constance Hill. A further drawing of the artist’s conception of Elizabeth Bennett.

Made: 1901

Context: At the turn of the 20th century, the author Constance Hill and her artist sister Ellen, both devoted admirers of Jane Austen, embarked on a literary pilgrimage. Beginning in the Hampshire village of Steventon, the birthplace of Jane Austen, they set out to retrace her steps visiting along the way, London, Godmersham, Stoneleigh Abbey, Bath, Lyme Regis, Southampton, and Chawton.  They ended their journey at Jane’s burial place in Winchester cathedral.

The story of their travels was recorded in Jane Austen: her home & her friends written by Constance and illustrated by Ellen, which was published by The Bodley Head in 1902.  In the preface to the first edition, Constance wrote:

‘Such a pilgrimage in the footprints of a favourite writer would, alas! in many cases lead to a sad disenchantment, but no such pain awaits those who follow Miss Austen’s gentle steps. The more intimate their knowledge of her character becomes the more must they admire and love her rare spirit…’

In 1957, Mrs Lilian Alcock, the niece of the Misses Hill, donated six of Ellen’s original drawings to the museum.

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