‘We cannot ever know exactly what she looked like, and the likeness has to remain, in part speculative, but I feel that there’s a distinctly sporting chance that I can’t be too far wrong.’ Melissa Dring
The precise type of cap and the pattern for the style of muslin dress, fashionable at the time, I found at Berrington Hall in Herefordshire with the kind help of Althea MacKenzie, the curator of the National Trust’s collection of costumes housed there. In a darkened room, she opened box after box of fragile C18th dresses for me to see, all of the right period for Jane’s time in Bath. I chose a blue spotted muslin dress because I wanted one that I could adapt easily to Jane’s own choice of fabric, detailed in another of her letters to Cassandra, “I was tempted by a pretty coloured muslin and bought ten yards of it, but at the same time, if it should not suit you, you must not think yourself at all obliged to take it, the pattern is a small red spot”. Althea also advised me about the style of corsetry Jane would have worn to give her the right degree of, literally, straight-lacedness and ramped up bosom so typical of her times.
|New Jane Portrait|
|Jane's brother Francis|
A full-size waxwork has been made and is on display at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath. The waxwork was a collaboration by sculptor Mark Richards and Melissa Dring and was presented to the public in July 2014.