Safeguarding Jane’s legacy brick by brick

Friday 22nd June 2018 6:00 am
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CAROLINE Knight, author of Jane & Me: My Austen Heritage and Jane Austen’s fifth great-niece, has pledged her support to Chawton House’s #BrickbyBrick campaign.

The appeal was launched in November and has raised almost £25,000 so far, but more is urgently needed to help support Jane Austen’s ‘Great House’.

After buying a brick, Caroline said: “Chawton House must be preserved for future generations to enjoy and with our support it can become a major cultural destination celebrating early women’s writing in the setting of the ancestral estate so significant to Jane Austen and her family.”

Recognising her unique situation as the last Austen-Knight descendent to live in Jane’s Great House, she explained the ever-present literary associations felt as a child.

“Growing up at Chawton House surrounded by 400 years of my family history and great-aunt Jane’s literacy legacy was an absolute privilege and my heart will always be in Chawton. I explored the same places around Chawton House and its grounds as Jane, read in the same family library, dined at the same dining table. We even ate from the same china.”

Caroline returned to Chawton House on Monday for the UK launch of her book, Jane & Me: My Austen Heritage’ It has been optioned by Sydney-based movie and television production house Screen Corporation, with the series story and concept by James M Vernon based on the day-to-day life in a crumbling 16th Century manor steeped in four centuries of continuous family ownership.

Ms Knight joins the likes of Hollywood actors Emma Thompson and Greg Wise, both of whom starred in the 1995 film of Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility, in lending support to the #BrickbyBrick campaign.

Donors who buy a brick will have their names added to a virtual wall and also receive a certificate commemorating their contribution.

All donations of a £100 or more will also be acknowledged in a special architect’s drawing, which will be kept at Chawton House in perpetuity.

Donations to the campaign can be made via janesgreathouse.org.

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