The 'bonnet portrait' has good provenance, it was inherited by Cassy Esten Austen, Jane and Cassandra's niece on the death of her Aunt Cassandra and remains in the Austen family. It is signed C.E.A. and dated 1804. There is little dispute about its genuineness - although as a guide to Jane Austen's appearance it is not much help!
The first of the spin-offs from the Cassandra sketch. When James Edward Austen Leigh was writing his Memoir of Jane Austen in 1869, he commissioned local artist James Andrews of Maidenhead to 'pretty up' Cassandra's sketch and this was what Mr Andrews came up with. With a posture less defensive and more demure than the original - a frillier dress and rounder face - we are losing the 'tall, spare woman' described by those who knew her.
The Spectator in their Christmas Day 1869 issue, commented that it was 'refinement, playfulness, and alertness, rather than depth of intellect, which the face seemed to express.' Quite.
Look closely at the fourth finger on 'Jane's' left hand - yes, you are not mistaken - she is wearing a wedding ring. But as the rest of the portrait is such a travesty maybe its not so surprising. Jane was variously described as a 'tall thin spare woman,' as 'tall and slight', even as 'a poker or a fire screen or any other thin upright piece of wood or iron'. No sign of that tall, thin woman in this portrait; she has been transformed into a plump, vacuous Victorian matron.
Hmm, shall we even talk about this version, which was published in Marie Claire Magazine? Best not, eh?
Inevitable I suppose that we would end up with the Lizars image - there is a paucity of choice after all - so here she is on the £10 note due to be issued in 2017.
This silhouette entitled L'amiable Jane is also owned by the National Portrait Gallery and they claim it to be of Jane Austen.
Provenance is dubious - it turned up pasted into volume II of a second edition of Sense and Sensibility with the name A.E. Oakley written in volume I.
Robert Chapman persuaded the NPG to buy it. Originally claimed to be by Mrs Collins, it is now described as being by an unknown artist and from circa 1810 - 1815.
To say this painting has had a chequered history would be putting it mildly. A previous owner, Rev. Dr. Thomas Harding Newman, claimed it was painted by Zoffany and the mis-attribution subsequently caused a whole load of trouble for this painting. I believe it to be a painting of Jane Austen by Ozias Humphry, painted in 1788 or 1789
The Stanier-Clarke portrait - The portrait is unnamed, unsigned and undated but was found pasted into what was indisputably the Friendship Book of the Rev. James Stanier-Clarke, the librarian to the Prince of Wales who received Jane Austen for tea in November 1815 and subsequently maintained a regular correspondence with her.
The book was discovered in an antiquarian bookshop by Richard Wheeler who was convinced that the portrait was of Jane Austen. It is now owned by his son.
The Byrne Portrait - the latest entrant in the pantheon of Austen portraits. Although it has been known about for some time it was thought to have been an imaginary portrait painted after Austen's death and was auctioned as such by collector Roy Davids.
The new owner, Austen biographer Paula Byrne claims it is Jane Austen and having researched this portrait (and after numerous wrong turns), I agree with her. I believe it to have been drawn by a Henry Smedley at his father's house in Westminster, probably in late 1815.