Even though she lived more than 200 years ago, the famous
English novelist Jane Austen has been in the news a lot recently.
The only known portrait of Jane Austen is to be sold
by auction in New York this week, and is expected to fetch between
￡200,000 and ￡400,000.
The oil painting, which experts believe was
commissioned by the novelist’s great-uncle in 1790, has been handed down
from generation to generation and currently belongs to one of Jane Austen’s
There has been some doubt over the
authenticity of the portrait because some experts say the type of dress
she is wearing in the painting is from the wrong historical period.
However, other academics and the auction house
Christie’s, who are selling the painting, say the picture is a "true
depiction" of the writer.
This is not the first time Jane Austen’s image has caused
controversy. Earlier this year her publishers were criticised for
giving her a makeover on the cover of a book about her life.
The publishers made changes to a sketch of Jane drawn
by her sister. In the original picture Jane is wearing a cap, but in the new
image the publishers have removed the cap, and added make-up and hair
Whatever she looked like, Jane Austen remains a British
national treasure. Her books, such as Emma, Sense and Sensibility, and
Pride and Prejudice, remain widely-read and have been successfully adapted for
television and cinema.
In fact, her work is still so popular that in a recent
survey to mark World Book Day, the British public voted Pride and
Prejudice the nation’s favourite read – ahead of Harry Potter and The Lord of