Jane Austen’s House Museum launches appeal to buy her sister Cassandra’s letter

Letter from Jane Austen’s sister written shortly after author’s death

Cassandra_Jane_Austen

Jane Austen’s House Museum is appealing for donations to make a private purchase of a letter written by Jane Austen’s only sister, Cassandra, shortly after the author’s death in 1817.

The Museum has three months – from May to July – to raise £10,000 from individual supporters.

Describing Jane as a ‘dear Angel’, Cassandra addresses the letter to Fanny Knight, the eldest child of her brother Edward. In it she writes:

“Never was [a] human being more sincerely mourned by those who attended her remains than was this dear creature.

“May the sorrow with which she is parted from on earth be a prognostic of the joy with which she is hailed in Heaven.”

She ends the letter asking whether Fanny would prefer to receive a lock of Jane’s hair mounted in a ring or a brooch.

The letter is currently on loan and on display at Jane Austen’s House Museum, in Chawton, Hampshire; the place where it was written.

Mary Guyatt, Curator of Jane Austen’s House Museum, says “We are excited to have the opportunity to bring this rare and poignant letter into our permanent collection and to thereby ensure it can be appreciated by the widest public now and in years to come. Every donation takes us closer to securing the letter.” A major contribution towards the £30,000 purchase price has already been awarded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures scheme.

To contribute to the appeal, please see the Museum’s website www.jane-austens-house-museum.org.uk

 

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