I am writing in response to your recent report highlighting comments about the statue planned to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Jane Austen’s birth. 

As an American who is an ardent Anglophile and author, I was dismayed at the one-sided perspective about a three-dimensional work of art of this magnitude. 

Recently, Winchester has successfully erected a statue of a woman of whom there are no surviving illustrations: Licoricia. 

Why should it not be applauded for the city to do the same for one of England’s – and the world’s – most beloved women authors, especially when we know roughly what she looked like, thanks to a portrait by her sister Cassandra, the one who knew her best? Jane Austen’s image has already been ‘borrowed' by the likes of the Bank of England and The Royal Mint. 

Was the authoress consulted about such publicity/visibility? Obviously not, and Britain is all the more in her debt. 

Martin Jennings’ refined design has captured Jane Austen – the woman and the author – in uniquely unified fashion. Her focused gaze gleams with uncommon intelligence and storied wit. She appears every inch the heroine behind novels which have touched the hearts and minds of millions across the world.

I remain of the persuasion that a statue of Jane Austen in Winchester Cathedral’s Inner Close is a special and overdue artistic tribute to a national treasure – not the “Disneyfication” of a place of worship, which will always be a place of pilgrimage for Janeites. 

Dr Jessica A. Volz,
N. Raleigh Street,

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