Jane Austen sculpture design unveiled in Basingstoke
A life-size bronze of Jane Austen is to be placed in the Market Square in Basingstoke to mark 200 years since the Hampshire author’s death.
Basingstoke sculptor Adam Roud has been commissioned to create the sculpture, which he hopes will represent Jane not only as a writer, but also as a strong-willed and independent character in her own right.
Jane was born in 1775 in Steventon, just a few miles outside Basingstoke, where she lived for more than half her life. The places, people and landscapes of the borough had an enormous influence on her novels, and she created the first draft of Pride and Prejudice whilst living at Steventon, where her father was vicar of St Nicholas Church. Jane Austen knew Basingstoke well: she attended social gatherings at the Assembly Rooms in Market Square, near the current-day Lloyds Bank, and regularly visited family friends at the Vyne, Oakley Hall and Ashe House, amongst others.
A maquette of the sculpture was unveiled on Thursday 19 January by MP Maria Miller, who has been working with Hampshire Cultural Trust to bring the project to fruition.
“Jane Austen is a writer of worldwide repute,” commented Maria Miller. “Born in the borough, she is a woman who broke the mould in her generation. I am delighted that she is to be recognized in a sculpture by Adam Roud. It is a fitting tribute to her status not just as a local writer, but as one of the finest and most-loved authors the world has known.”
Janet Owen, Chief Executive of Hampshire Cultural Trust, commented:
“We are proud to be involved with this project in this, the 200th anniversary year of Jane Austen’s death. There will be many events across the county celebrating not only the writings of this extraordinary woman, but her life in her home county of Hampshire.”
To help raise funds to celebrate Jane’s links with Basingstoke with this life sized sculpture please donate here.