The definitive portrait of Jane Austen sells for 164,500 pounds at Sotheby's London
December 12, 2013: A rare, original portrait of famous author Jane Austen has been auctioned by Sotheby’s London for £164,500. The watercolour, by James Andrews, an engraving of which will appear on the Bank of England’s new £10 note from 2017 (the author’s bicentenary) was purchased over the telephone on behalf of an anonymous private collector.
Rarely seen in public, the portrait had been offered for sale directly from the Austen family. It was commissioned in 1869 by Jane Austen’s nephew, Rev. James Edward Austen-Leigh to illustrate his Memoir of Jane Austen.
Best-selling author Joanna Trollope, whose Sense & Sensibility is a reworking of Austen’s famous novel, commented, “This portrait was commissioned half a century after Jane Austen's death, so it can hardly be claimed as a life likeness. All the same, it is all we have, and it has a lack of pretension that suits our first properly acclaimed great woman novelist. I think Jane Austen herself would have enjoyed being represented on a national banknote in this mildly enigmatic way. And she would have been vastly entertained by this auction and all the publicity surrounding it - thrilled, but also unable to resist a tease…"