Janes interest in art and art exhibitions is evidenced in her letters:
Monday May 24:
In an earlier visit to London , in a letter dated Thurs. 18-Sat.20 April 1811, Jane refers to ...
Mary and I, after disposing of her Father and Mother, went to the Liverpool Museum [of Natural History exhibitions, in Piccadilly] and the British Gallery [Gallery of the British Institution, Pall Mall], and I had some amusement at each, though my preference for Men and Women, always inclines me to attend more to the company than the sight.
Maggie Lane makes the point that Janes opportunities for looking at paintings were mainly confined to those hanging on the walls of the many houses she visited, where family portraits dominated.
The fashion for print rooms grew from the middle of the 18th century until the early 19th century. At The Vyne, the home of the Chute family, and one which Jane Austen knew, the Print Room. has several prints pasted to the walls.
The prints were put up in the little parlour, and as my brothers happened to be at The Vyne, they greatly assisted in doing so, particularly James, who showed great taste in those matters. The prints had always been kept in a large portfolio in the gallery on large black stools.
A contemporary family member, commented in later years that some of the engravings were too valuable for such a situation and certainly the system goes against current archiving practices.
|Detail from The Royal Academy Exhibition at Somerset House, 1787 by JH Ramber, engraved by PA Martini, 1788. Brewer, The Pleasures of the Imagination, 1997, p 320.||
29 January 2004