Pride without prejudice should keep Austen portrait in Britain

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Fresh from keeping a ring that once belonged to Jane Austen in the country after it was sold at auction, another piece of memorabilia is on the market. This time, the painting described as the ‘definitive portrait’ of the author, who once lived in Portsmouth before settling at Chawton.

Fascination surrounds her, mainly because no-one knows what she was like as a person, nor truly what she looked like. That she was witty, observant and a cracking storyteller is not disputed.

But in our world of Facebook and Twitter, where pictures of what people had for dinner are handed to us on a plate, she is as enigmatic as a person can get without being William Shakespeare. So I hope this painting will stay in the country of her birth.