From Bath with Jane Austen and the Penguin

Come with me and take a few steps into the world of Jane Austen and the Penguin- a slip in time between 2021 and 1801 when the Austen family took up their first Bath residency.

Here we are at the front door of 4 Sydney Place, just round the corner from the grandeur of Great Pulteney Street.

Above is the room where I imagined Jane Austen sitting anxiously trying to write with the same alacrity once felt at her family home in Hampshire.

The spindly writing desk shown in the painting is modelled on one here in my studio- her own, at the Jane Austen House Museum, Chawton being no larger than a generously sized dinner plate.

Through the window we can see Martin, resplendent with side whiskers and tall hat, usually to be found standing outside the Jane Austen Museum in Gay Street, posing for selfies with visitors.
But this is a time of Covid- the museum is shut and Martin no longer waits patiently on the steps.

And I have taken liberties with the view- the room would have actually looked out towards Sydney Gardens (modelled on Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in nineteenth-century London) where Jane and her sister Cassandra loved to walk.

The gardens are presently being restored to their former glory and form a backdrop to what is now The Holburne Art Museum or rather, if you admired the eccentric brilliance of Netflix’s Bridgerton, Lady Danbury’s splendid residence!

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Julia King

    Penny I loved the references to past and present Bath along with Netflix’s Bridgerton, wonderful!

    1. Penny

      Thank you Julia, that’s very kind of you. I’m so glad you liked the post- very short but took bloomin’ ages to write!

  2. Charley

    I loved reading this Penny!

  3. Jane Callan

    I love all the details you’ve put in your paintings Penny, and your blog posts, it’s fascinating. I think you’ve captured the mood perfectly, Jane must have felt all at sea and quite frustrated when she moved to Bath ..if only she’d had a penguin companion, I’m sure it would have been a great comfort!

  4. Penny

    Thank you Jane very much. I think everyone should have a penguin! P.

  5. Alana

    What a lovely idea, this made me smile! Your paintings are wonderful Penny, and I love the details in the blog!

    1. Penny

      Thank you Alana, that’s kind of you. In these crackers times, a penguin at a regency ball is beginning to seem entirely reasonable to me which is a little worrying…

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