We had a very interesting meeting, last Monday, in the Wessex Centre at the Cathedral to discuss the proposed statue.

The reports in the papers, The Telegraph, The Times and The Hampshire Chronicle do not give a balanced report.

Elizabeth Proudman and her claque were very vocal about the inappropriateness of a statue in the Inner Close. This appeared to be because the Inner Close had been a private space for the monks before the Dissolution of the Monasteries. If the argument stands, no lay person would have access to the Inner Close today.

The argument is ludicrous or seems so to me.  Her views did not meet with much support at the meeting.

I am a Jane Austen guide at the Cathedral. When taking tours from College Street, where she died, to the Cathedral, to follow her funeral procession route we go through the Inner Close. It would be particularly relevant to pass a statue of Jane Austen on this route. 

Some thought the statue should portray Jane in outdoor clothes.  Martin Jennings felt that the statue should be relevant to her writing process at Chawton.  He described the statue as showing her having risen to her feet in front of her writing table, having been disturbed.  This explains the motion of her dress and her stance protecting her writing area.

The statue has been considered in depth by the sculptor, the Cathedral and the Council.   We are in safe hands and I myself applaud the project and look forward to seeing the finished article in the Inner Close.


Jeremy Baker

Halterworth lane


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