Hampshire will come under the spotlight on Tuesday, July 18 – the 200th anniversary of the death of the universally admired author Jane Austen.
The county of her birth, and of her death, Hampshire is also where Jane wrote her famous novels – all of which is being marked by a year-long series of events to celebrate her creativity and talent.
Visitors to Hampshire on July 18 will find a host of events marking the date of her death…
Winchester, for example, has been chosen as the location for the unveiling of the new £10 note that day. The Bank of England has announced that the new note, which will feature Jane Austen will be on show for the first time at Winchester Cathedral that day. This event will be the first opportunity the public have to see the new notes and learn about their features ahead of them entering circulation in September. Bank of England staff will be on hand until 5pm to allow visitors to handle the new notes.
Born in 1775, the celebrated author lived the first 25 years of her life in Steventon, in the Hampshire countryside, and was known to often frequent the nearest town of Basingstoke for dances. It is here that a new statue of Jane Austen will be unveiled on July 18; and where several other events and exhibitions are taking place – including the Sitting with Jane trail of colourful “book benches”.
Back in Winchester, there will be a Special Evensong Service in the Cathedral from 5.30pm, led by the Dean and Chapter with contributions from invited guests and sung by the Cathedral Choir. All are welcome to attend this service but tickets must be obtained in advance through the Cathedral Box Office.
Another centrepiece of the celebrations is the exhibition The Mysterious Miss Austen, which runs until July 24, at The Gallery in Winchester Discovery Centre. At its heart are six portraits of Jane – all together under one roof for the very first time. Presented in partnership with Hampshire’s Jane Austen’s House Museum and Hampshire Cultural Trust, this landmark exhibition explores Jane’s life, work and her relationship to the country. Admission is free.
Included amongst the many other exhibitions and events taking place at the same time are: ‘Jane and her Alton Apothecary’ at the Allen Gallery in Alton (free admission); ‘The Navy at the Time of Jane Austen: Fighting, Flirting and Fortune’ at Gosport Gallery in Gosport (free admission); ‘Jane Austen in 41 Objects’ at the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton (included with Museum admission); and ‘The Jane Austen Story’ in Winchester Cathedral (£9.95 adults, £5.95 concessions).