There is a well-known portrait of a little girl dressed in white who has been said for years to be the writer Jane Austen. The portrait in question has belonged to the Rice family for generations and they are in fact descendants of one of the writer’s brothers
According to the family, the portrait of Jane Austen should have been commissioned from Ozias Humphry in 1788 when the writer, then 12, visited relatives in Kent with her sister Cassandra.
It should all be very straightforward as there is also proof in the family accounts of the expenditure of 12 Guineas to the artist to make the portrait. But experts have always been of the opinion that this is not the portrait of Jane Austen, mainly because they believe that the dress could not have been from 1788, but it is a fashion of later years.
A couple of years ago a letter from Fanny Caroline Lefroy who was a relative of Jane Austen (the mother was the daughter of one of the writer’s brothers) was found which assures that the portrait was authentic.
Lefroy was born three years after Jane Austen’s death but appears to have been familiar with the family’s matters. From the letter it appears that the painter was Johann Zoffany. New revelations on the mystery of Jane Austen’s portrait Lefroy’s letter appears to be authentic and if true, there would be no reason to doubt its content. At the time of Lefroy, no one wondered if the portrait was authentic or not, the doubts began from the 1930s onwards, therefore practically 100 years after the letter. You can read a The Guardian’s article about this mystery here.
The historic Kensington pub where Dickens and DH Lawrence used to drink
A traditional pub in South Kensington, famous for being patronised by Charles Dickens (who lived on this street at number 11 for a while) and DH Lawrence.
Even now it is a pub that is often packed with people in the evening and you won’t always find a seat if you don’t eat. If you want to experience the atmosphere of a historic pub but without the crowds, you can do it in the afternoon when you will also find a seat.
The pub also offers food and has a garden for nice days or you could go downstairs where you can find tables to eat in an area not too crowded. To get there you have to find a side door. The menu is typical of a pub, but if you are passing through and want to have traditional fish & chips or a pie with a pint of beer, this is a great place to do it. It is not far from the museums of South Kensington so we are in an area where many tourists will be passing through.
Book Emily Bronte The Complete Poems, Penguin Classics on Love, Loss and Sorrow
A bookshop that sells books for the visually impaired opens in Paris
Two French publishing houses have opened a specialized bookshop in Paris, in the Pantheon area, called the “Librairie des grands caractères”, a way to grant even the visually impaired the luxury of a walk among books. And the sensual pleasure of touching and breathing paper.
Customers are those who suffer from vision-related problems, due to disease or age and we are talking of over a million people in a country like France.
And these books are specialò the paper is made so as not to dazzle, the line spacing is studied, the contrast is never excessive, even and the character is not that of traditional books but an ad hoc one, called Luciole.
One more reason not to abandon reading on paper is, in the case of some totally or partially reversible eye diseases, its important rehabilitative power for sight.
Unfortunately the catalogue of books for visually impaired people is still very limited, it has only about 600 titles.
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