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Rare Jane Austen watercolour sells for £164,500

A rarely-seen watercolour of British novelist Jane Austen has sold at auction for £164,500 to an anonymous private collector, Sotheby's confirmed.

A rarely-seen watercolour of novelist Jane Austen has sold at auction for £164,50. Credit: PA

The James Andrews portrait was commissioned by Jane Austen's nephew the Rev James Edward Austen-Leigh in 1869, to accompany his influential biography Memoir Of Jane Austen.

It is one of the most famous images of the Pride and Prejudice writer and will appear on the new £10 note from 2017.

Dr Gabriel Heaton, of Sotheby's, described it as "the most important likeness of Jane Austen ever likely to appear on the open market".

He said: "Seeing the most famous image of Jane Austen, for the first time, in a domestic sitting room was an astonishing experience.

"This delicate watercolour is so much more than a piece of literary portraiture - it is part of our cultural history."


Author to reinterpret Austen's Emma in new novel

Emma is one of Jane Austen's most popular novels Credit: DPA/Press Association Images

Jane Austen's heroine Emma will be given a literary makeover by crime writer Alexander McCall Smith in a new novel that will be published 199 years after the original.

The book is part of the Austen Project which sees modern authors reinterpret Austen's work with Joanna Trollope's Sense and Sensibility due out this month and crime novelist Val McDermid's version of Northanger Abbey out next year.

McCall Smith said: "Writing a contemporary version of Emma is both a privilege and a real challenge. Not only is Emma one of the finest novels in the English language, but it is possibly Jane Austen's most thought-provoking and interesting book."

Equality campaigner Criado-Perez targeted on Twitter

Caroline Criado-Perez, the campaigner who successfully pushed for women other than the Queen to feature on English banknotes, has been subjected to a series of threats on Twitter.

She has received support from Stella Creasy, the MP for Walthamstow, and Times columnist Caitlin Moran among many others.


Jane Austen to become the face of the £10 note

Jane Austen will be the face of the new £10 note, the Bank of England announced. The decision is a victory for equality campaigners who launched an online protest just three months ago after the bank announced it was replacing the only woman currently featuring on a banknote with Winston Churchill.

Austen will become the third women, apart from the Queen, to be immortalised in such a way. The bank also said it will review the process it uses to select historical figures for banknotes in the future, as Richard Edgar reports.

Chancellor: Austen note shows 'sense and sensibility'

Chancellor George Osborne has welcomed the decision by the new Bank of England Governor Mark Carney to put Jane Austen on the new £10 notes.

Bank of England to review how it chooses note faces

Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, in front of the Jane Austen £10. Credit: Press Association

The Bank of England has announced today that is reviewing how it chooses the faces of its notes, given their responsibility as a public body to act within the spirit of equality.

Welcoming the decision, journalist Caroline Criado-Perez, who set up the online petition, said:

"To hear Jane Austen confirmed is fantastic, but to hear the process will be comprehensively reviewed is even better."

The Bank said it wanted to reassure people that it was never its intention that none of the historic characters appearing on banknotes would be a woman. Explaining the reasons behind the review, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said:

"We want people to have confidence in our commitment to diversity."

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