In celebration of the upcoming bicentenary decade of Jane Austen’s published works (1811-2011), a new permanent exhibit will open on April 10, 2010 at her resting place Winchester Cathedral in Winchester, England. The exhibit will reveal the renowned British author’s life and times in Hampshire and focus prominence to her grave site in the cathedral’s north aisle of the nave where she was buried on July 24th, 1817, five days after her death in Winchester at age 41.
The exhibition, which will document Jane’s home and social life, will be supported by a mix of permanent and rolling exhibits borrowed from collections around the world. From 10 April until 20 September items from Winchester Cathedral’s and Winchester College’s archives will be on display. Some of these items have rarely, if ever, been displayed publicly before and include her burial register, first editions and fragments of Jane’s own writing.
There will also be guided tours, specific exhibitions and talks taking visitors through her life and works to mark her legacy and set the stage for Jane’s bicentenary. Highlights include:
- 1 May: Special Evensong to mark Jane Austen’s life, and place in the Cathedral’s history
- 16-18 July: Jane Austen Weekend (including Regency Dinner) which coincides with the Jane Austen Society AGM
- 5-6 August: Outside theatre production of Pride and Prejudice
- Extended tours which take visitors beyond the Cathedral to see Jane’s final home just beyond the Cathedral Inner Close.
“Hampshire offers Jane Austen admirers a wonderful window into her life, at her birthplace of Steventon, where she lived at Chawton and in Winchester, her final resting place. The Cathedral provides the perfect space to bring together each element of Jane’s life through the public exhibition and to give prominence to her ledgerstone, which lies quietly in the north nave aisle and often goes unnoticed.
“Our focus will be on Jane Austen the person, her life, family and friends. So much of daily life during the regency period is so different to today, and we know this will reveal a totally different side to Jane Austen’s fans and followers.” Charlotte Barnaville, the Cathedral’s Marketing Officer
Additional information on the exhibit and visiting details can be found at the Winchester Cathedral’s website and the official Visit Winchester travel website. Now Janeites, yet another reason to rationalize the expenditure of a trip to England! ;-)