Celebrating Jane Austen’s Bicentenary – #JaneAusten200

Jane Austen memoriam in O. C. Register 18 July 2017

The world remembers Jane Austen today on the 200th anniversary of her death.

A celebration is in progress today in honor of one of the world’s most popular authors. July 18, 2017 marks the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death at Winchester, England in the arms of her sister Cassandra. She was only 41 years old. We have six novels, one novella and minor works to cherish. Her fandom has grown to millions.

There are many tributes in progress around the world, notably in England at Winchester Cathedral where she is buried, the Jane Austen House Museum where she resided the last 8 years of her life and at Chawton House Library, the manor house of her brother Edward Austen Knight where she was a frequent guest. The Jane Austen Society of North America’s annual general meeting is being hosted by the southwest region in Huntington Beach this year, a stone’s throw from my hometown of Newport Beach. They are dedicating the entire conference to celebrating Jane Austen in Paradise. They placed an add in the Orange County Register newspaper today in memoriam of Austen’s life and legacy. My sister kindly forwarded it to me. It gave me goosebumps. Jane is indeed everywhere today.

Jane Austen bobbleheads

Three Jane Austen bobblehead’s meet to discuss the merits of long sleeves this season! Courtesy of Julie Arnold c 2017

I have written a tribute to my favorite author for the Telly Visions blog featuring 10 reasons why we still admire Jane Austen’s writing after 200 years. The subject was so close to my heart that I struggled for weeks to write it, changing the topic and tone many times. It is so difficult to narrow down the reasons why I adore Jane Austen – so I just let her tell us.

Please join the celebration by leaving a comment at the Jane Austen Society of North America’s virtual Memory Book and by posting your favorite quote or image on social media. Use hashtag #JaneAusten200 to help her trend online.

In conclusion I will add this quote by Austen’s sister Cassandra from a letter she wrote to her niece Fanny Knight on the occasion of the death of her aunt.

“She was the sun of my life, the gilder of every pleasure, the soother of every sorrow, I had not a thought concealed from her, and it is as if I had lost a part of myself.”

Cheers Janeites!


Jane Goes Postal: Wrap Party

Image of British Mint Stamps Jane Austen Cover (1975)






Thanks for joining us this week for Jane Austen’s 232nd. birthday celebration honoring the design and issue of her bicentenary stamps in Great Britain in 1975. I hope you enjoyed learning about the fascinating design process, the history of their release and the celebration by the Jane Austen community in Britain.

Well, never one to not have her say, I could not pass up the opportunity to comment on the designs and throw in some additional tidbits. So here goes!


Illustration by Barbara Brown, Emma & Mr. Woodhouse, Bicentenary Stamp (1975)     Image of Mr. Darcy, British Commemorative Stamp, (1975)     Illustration by Barbara Brown, Catherine Morland, Bicentenary Stamp (1975)     Illustration by Barbara Brown, Mary & Henry Crawford, Bicentenary Stamp (1975)

In retrospect, the stamps were a success artistically because of designer Barbara Brown’s sensitivity and respect to Jane Austen’s work and characters. Learning about her design decisions only added to my appreciation of her choices, and the Stamp Advisory Commission’s excellent choice of an illustrator to create the stamps. I loved how she chose to work in miniature, when very few stamp designers of her day did so. It was brave and worked in her favour. Her choice of the six different characters representing her thoughts on the most popular novels and which character would best represent them was apt. The accuracy of their clothing, scenery and attitudes added to the overall success of the designs and earned the respect and gratitude of the Jane Austen community, and properly honored the bicentenary celebration.     

Image of Jane Austen First Day Cover designed by Jeffery Matthews (1975)

This is one of the Jane Austen First Day Covers with Jeffery Matthews beautiful Regency inspired artwork and hand-stamp of Jane Austen’s initials. I think that it complemented the stamp designs and colours perfectly.

Image of British Mint Stamps Jane Austen Cover (1975)

This is another example of one of the Jane Austen First Day Covers  showing the additional artwork that was commissioned of Emma & Mr. Woodhouse from the novel Emma that designer Barbara Brown furnished.

Image of the Jane Austen First Day Cover issued by the city of Bath (1975)

This is the Jane Austen First Day Cover specially issued by the city of Bath featuring a portrait of Jane Austen that had been commissioned by Jane Austen’s family in 1869, and was on the frontis page of the book A Memoir of Jane Austen, written by her nephew James Edward Austen Leigh. Also of note is the beautiful hand-stamp by Jeffery Matthews inspired by the drawing of Jane Austen by her sister Cassandra.

Image of the Christmas First Day Covered, issued in Great Britian (1975)

And finally, I thought that you might like to see the set of Christmas stamps that eliminated the Jane Austen set from being issued on her birthday of December 16th. Far be it from me to say that Jane Austen should supersede the celebration of our Lord’s birth, but some say that in the literary world,  – – they are close to the same thing!

A very special shout out to Lucy Shepherd, Archives and Record Management Assistant of  The British Postal Museum & Archive for her expert help in locating the excellently written research document Special Stamp History 105, Birth Bicentenary of Jane Austen, 22 October, 1975, by Giles Allen, 9 January 1997 which was the primary source of my article.

*Image of Jane Austen Bicentenary Commemorative First Day Presentation Pack, designed by Jeffery Matthews, 22 October 1975

*Image of the Jane Austen First Day Cover issued in Great Britain, (1975)

*Image of the Jane Austen First Day Cover issued by the city of Bath, Great Briain, (1975)

*Image of the Christmas First Day Cover issued in Great Britain, (1975)