Hello and welcome to my blog. Thanks for dropping by.

So - a bit of background about me and what this blog is all about. 

My name is Ellie Bennett. (I have been asked more than once whether this is a nom de plume or spoof on Elizabeth Bennet, I assure you it isn't!) I published a book through Summersdale in 2012 on an entirely different subject (cycling)

Although I have enjoyed Jane Austen's books for as long as I can remember, it was about three years ago that I became interested in the images of Jane Austen. Dr Paula Byrne had recently announced that she had purchased a portrait she believed to be of the author and it piqued my interest. I decided to begin some research into the known portraits of Jane Austen.

I was starting from a knowledge base of zero. I am not an academic and I am certainly no art expert, and I am the first to acknowledge that fact. It has been an interesting learning curve for me. But perhaps being outside of the academic and the art world has been as advantage as I very quickly discovered that the story of Jane Austen's image is never far from controversy. So perhaps a fresh approach is no bad thing. 

It is work that is ongoing and I am sharing my findings on this blog. It's been an interesting journey so far - I've made numerous blunders and showed my ignorance far too many times  - but I've also turned up some interesting new information which I'm posting on here. There is, for example, the letter Jane's sister Cassandra wrote to Jane's publisher John Murray in 1831 which you can read about HERE

The Rice and Byrne portraits are particularly fascinating and I've dug up lots of information about both of these portraits. 

I've published some of this information before on my general blog, imaginatively entitled Ellie Bennett's Blog - but to be frank it was a complete miss-mash of subjects and so I've moved the Austen research here. 

My book on the subject: The Five Faces of Jane Austen will be published next year.

I very much welcome any comments, corrections   - and criticisms - of my research which you can post on my blog or email to me directly. I look forward to hearing from you!

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