According to her biographer and nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh, Jane Austen was ‘successful with everything that she attempted with her fingers.’ Whether she was playing ‘spilikins,’ transcribing fair copies of her novels or working so finely at her needle that she would ‘almost have put a sewing machine to shame,’ her ‘handiwork’ was precise, even exquisite. Austen-Leigh was not exaggerating. The author’s manuscripts attest to the neatness of her hand, while the survival of a painted needlebook, a stitched monogrammed handkerchief, an exquisitely whiteworked shawl and an embroidered housewife amply demonstrate Austen’s skill across a variety of craft forms.
In this free talk, Jennie Batchelor explores the role that needlework played in the lives of Austen and other women of her generation. Drawing on her research for the recently published Jane Austen Embroidery (co-authored with Alison Larkin), Jennie will discuss and share images of her discovery of a cache of presumed lost embroidery patterns from the Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832), a publication we know Austen read, to reflect on the relationship between and pleasures of craft, writing and work in the her time and our own. A live Q&A will follow the talk.
You can learn more here and register for this free event: https://www.janeaustenandco.org/post/crafting-with-jane-austen