Friday, April 27, 2007
Is this the face of Jane Austen? The painting shown here, known as the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen (after a former owner, Henry Rice) was by society artist Ozias Humphry. It came to wider notice in 1884, when it appeared on the cover of a first edition of Jane Austen's letters collection. There has been much debate over the authenticity of the portrait ever since, but the Christie's auction house in New York supports those who claim it is Austen, putting the portrait up for auction on April 19, where it was expected to fetch between $400,000 and $800,000 (USD). More on the story here. I rather think it's the real thing––if you compare it with the only authenticated portrait of Jane Austen, the drawing by her sister Cassandra, the features and proportions are the same (albeit softened and flattered in the painting).