is no definitive portrait of Jane Austen. No one knows exactly
what she looked like. Whilst much has been written about her character
and attributes, her 'real' appearance remains unclear.
new portrait will hang 'pride of place' at the Centre.
seen her work on Vivaldi, Melissa Dring was commissioned by David
Baldock, director of the Jane Austen Centre, to produce a new portrait
of the author as she might have appeared during her time in Bath,
the insights of the professional portrait painter with those of
the police forensic artist, Melissa was uniquely qualified to accept
new portrait of Jane Austen by Melissa Dring.
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Dring's Portrait of Jane Austen is the only 'forensic' attempt to
recreate an accurate picture of Jane Austen as an adult during the
is a gap left by the paucity of authenticated representations of
Jane Austen - just a tiny pencil and watercolour sketch of the author
in the National Portrait Gallery in London, by her elder sister
Cassandra, and a steel ngraving made from that portrait years later.
somewhat unhelpfully, also painted a back view of Jane Austen, and
there are two silhouettes, popular in her day, one of which is said
to be a self-portrait.
a new portrait of 186 years after the author left Bath is timely.
for Melissa, there are wealth of written eyewitness accounts of
Jane Austen, mainly from relatives, that survive.
who have seen it so far are struck by the eyes," says Centre manager
all the other images of Jane, this one has a real light and intelligence."