Jane Austen Collection on show at BRLSI

BRLSI member Michael Davis (above) has brought his collection of Jane Austen memorabilia to the Institution for an exhibition, which runs until December 21st.  Michael, whose family owned Jane Austen’s former home at 4, Sydney Place, Bath, spent 20 years building the collection, which includes pictures, books and the original deeds of the Sydney Place property.
The exhibition transforms a corner of BRLSI’s Jenyns Room gallery into an ‘Austen Parlour’, where visitors can sit and read the Exhibition Manual, a collection of articles with links to the exhibits written by Michael Davis and Diana White, Chair of the Jane Austen Society’s Bath branch. Pride of place goes to the parchment deeds (known as ‘skins’), with signatures by Henrietta Pulteney and architect Thomas Baldwin, while more offbeat items include an article of Jane Austen’s enthusiasm for cricket (her nephew, Edward Knight, was a star of Hambledon Cricket Club).
Michael, who also runs BRLSI’s programme on 12th Century scientist Adelard of Bath, has generously offered his Austen collection to BRLSI. “It’s all designed to pack away into a few crates”, he told us, “so we could offer it to other museums, galleries and schools as a mobile exhibition.” The Jane Austen Collection is open at BRLSI from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Saturday, and admission is free.