Thursday, September 21, 2006

Portrait of Mrs Bingley

Have you ever wondered how Jane Austen saw her characters? Luckily, we know how she saw Jane Bennet, because of a letter Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra in 1813. Here's an extract from that letter.

"Henry and I went to the exhibition in Spring Gardens. It is not thought a good collection, but I was very well pleased, particularly (pray tell Fanny) with a small portrait of Mrs. Bingley, excessively like her.I went in hopes of seeing one of her sister, but there was no Mrs. Darcy. Perhaps, however, I may find her in the great exhibition, which we shall go to if we have time . . . Mrs. Bingley's is exactly herself -- size, shaped face, features, and sweetness; there never was a greater likeness. She is dressed in a white gown, with green ornaments, which convinces me of what I had always supposed, that green was a favourite colour with her. I dare say Mrs. D. will be in yellow."

The portrait Jane Austen mentions is believed to be this portrait of Mrs. Quentin by Huet-Villiers.


Melinda said...

I think this looks very much like Jane from the 1995 TV version of P&P - do you think the producers were influenced by it?

sexy said...
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