Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bath, UK - Jane Austen House Museum

Ever since my mom took me on a Trafalgar tour to UK (England, Wales and Scotland) about 20 years ago, I've carried memories of the English countryside with me and always wanted to go back and revisit some of these places on my own time.

This trip, I wanted to show my Hubby the English countryside, which I think is absolutely beautiful. We decided to go to Bath. One of the highlights of Bath (at least to me and all women who adore Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen) is the Jane Austen House Museum.

Apparently, this house - 40 Gay Street - wasn't the exact house Jane Austen stayed in when she lived in Bath, but it is as close as one can get to it.

(I just adore these glorious blue doors!)

It's actually a really tiny museum ... the basement is where the exhibition is, the street level is where the museum shop is, the second floor is like a reception room where a brief talk on Jane Austen is given, and the third floor is where the Regent-themed tea room is. There are also signs advising patrons to take care when walking along the stairs as the house is over 200 years old.

The pic below is probably one of the most oft seen pics of Jane Austen, but we learnt that that pic was actually drawn by Jane Austen's sister, and it sadly wasn't the most well drawn portrait of Jane Austen. It was said that it didn't accurately capture Jane Austen's essence. In the pic, she looks melancholy but apparently she was actually a very lively person.

As for this silhouette, it is "supposedly" one of Jane Austen. We soon learnt that there is actually very little known about Jane Austen and her life. Even the illness she suffered before she died at age 41 was a mystery. I guess that's partly why this museum is so tiny.

Some idea of how they used to dress during Jane Austen's time ... I thought it was especially charming that the girls in the museum and shop were all dressed in this period costumes. There was even this guy dressed in a top hat ... very Pride & Prejudice style. We thought he really looked the part :) In addition, all the staff in the museum were very cheerful and helpful. A real delight!

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