THE definitive portrait of Jane Austen made £164,500 at Sotheby’s in London today. An engraving of the watercolour by James Andrews will appear on the Bank of England’s new £10 note from 2017, the author’s bicentenary. It was purchased on the telephone by an anonymous private collector. The top estimate for the work was £150,000. It was commissioned in 1869 by Jane Austen’s nephew, Rev. James Edward Austen-Leigh to illustrate his Memoir of Jane Austen, the hugely influential first full-length biography which was crucial in transforming her from a novelist into a national figure.
Earlier in today’s sale, a previously completely unknown album of photographs by Julia Margaret Cameron sold for £242,500 – establishing a new auction record for an album of photographs by the artist. It is one of only 11 known albums compiled by Cameron who is considered the leading female pioneer of 19th century photography. Alongside carefully chosen portraits of her friends and celebrities of the Victorian era, the album contains two prints which are previously unrecorded and possibly unique.
(See post on antiquesandartireland.com for November 4, 2013).