‘Rain Jane’ trail makes a splash for Jane Austen bicentenary

An innovative new trail to raise awareness of a programme of events across Hampshire to mark the 200th anniversary of local author Jane Austen has been commissioned by Winchester City Council, and sponsored by Winchester College and the Jane Austen Society of North America.

The trail, the brainchild of AR Design Studio in Little Minster Street, is created in a special outdoor paint that will appear only during periods of rainfall.

It consists of 12 quotes from the author appearing in 36 locations across the city centre.  A ‘living wall’ of ivy in the garden opposite the house in College Street where the author died will present an additional quote in the series.  A new bench from which visitors can view the installation has been handcrafted by local sculptor Nicola Henshaw, following a workshop with pupils from Winnall Primary School.

The trail, part of the Council’s Feet First campaign to encourage walking, is intended to build interest in the author’s work, remind people that she lived and died in Hampshire and support local businesses who have called for ‘shoulder season’ campaigns that encourage footfall across the cityscape.

“Visitors will hopefully experience a sense of delight and surprise as they unexpectedly come across her words and her wit,” says Andy Ramus, of AR Design Studio Ltd.  “The quotations have been carefully placed in strategic locations chosen by Visit Winchester and the team here – many that have an ironic link to the words so there is an ‘in joke’ about society in general that shows how relevant her work still is.”

A free Rain Jane leaflet is available from Winchester Tourist Information Centre during opening hours and downloadable from www.visitwinchester.co.uk

The Rain Jane installation is the inaugural event launching Jane Austen 200 – a programme of events marking the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death that is coordinated by Hampshire Cultural Trust working in partnership with Winchester City Council, Hampshire County Council, Jane Austen’s House Museum, Chawton House Library, Alton Town Council and Winchester Cathedral.  For the full list of events see www.janeausten200.co.uk.

One of the highlight events in 2017 will be ‘The Mysterious Miss Austen’ – a world class exhibition at Winchester Discovery Centre Gallery curated by Hampshire Cultural Trust.  Five reputed portraits of the author will be brought together for the first time plus manuscripts, letters and the pelisse coat that is one of the only garments in the world with provenance that can be traced back to Austen.  The ground floor of Winchester’s City Museum is also being refurbished over the winter to give greater prominence to the much-admired objects associated with Jane Austen in the city that provided her last home and final resting place

For further information, please contact:

Ellen Simpson

Head of Tourism, Winchester City Council

Tel: 01962 848219

Email: esimpson@winchester.gov.uk