Book News ~ “Life in the Country”

The British Library has just published ” ‘Life in the Country’‘ “a beautiful book featuring quotations by Jane Austen illustrated by charming silhouette drawings by her nephew James Edward Austen-Leigh, producing an enchanting vision of Life in the Country filled with artistry and wit.

Jane Austen’s lively text and her nephew’s astute observations of nature combine in a way that uniquely illustrates life in the English countryside. Life in the Country was created by Freydis Jane Welland, the great great great grand-niece of Jane Austen, and owner of the silhouette album produced by James Edward Austen-Leigh.

Welland writes in the Preface to the book, “These delightful silhouettes have brought pleasure to the Austen family for generations… they retain the same freshness, vigour and charm that make Jane Austen’s writings so engaging.” Jane Austen herself said in a letter to her niece Caroline, written from Chawton in 1817: “We were happy to see Edward, it was an unexpected pleasure, and he makes himself as agreeable as ever, sitting in such a quiet comfortable way making his delightful sketches.”

Austen-Leigh later brought the fine art of silhouettes to perfection, creating wonderfully evocative images of landscapes and the creatures that live there. Life in the Country was originally produced as a limited edition fine-press book in 2005, with contributions by Maggie Lane, Joan Ray and Joan Austen-Leigh. This new hardback edition brings these lovely illustrations to a wide audience for the very first time.”

For further information, images or review copies, contact Ruth Howlett at the British Library Press Office: +44 ( 0 )20 7412 7112 or

Life in the Country by Freydis Jane Welland, is published in hardback by the British Library, 2 October 2008, price £14.95 ( 112 pages, 220 x 195mm, 96 illustrations, ISBN 978 0 7123 4985 7 ).

Available from the British Library Shop ( tel: +44 ( 0 )20 7412 7735 / e-mail:  ) and online at as well as other bookshops throughout the UK.

[Quoted from]  You can also order it from your local bookseller.

2 thoughts on “Book News ~ “Life in the Country”

  1. Just visited the BRITISH LIBRARY ‘shop’ — they also have postcards based on Edward’s silhouettes! (10 postcards, in 5 designs).

    I’m hoping to receive a review copy of this book – so stay tuned. This is the same book that Welland’s press, A Room of One’s Own, put out in a deluxe edition ($145) in 2005; it was reviewed in JASNA News in the Winter issue – find it online at

    James Edward Austen-Leigh wrote the first biography of Jane Austen; and in 1828 he married my Emma Smith!


  2. Hi Kelly, thanks for the info on the postcards! The British Library shop has wonderful items for sale. I actually have a copy of the 2005 limited edition…it is a lovely book and I was pleased to see it released in a trade edition…looking forward to your review! There were copies of this new edition at the AGM, and Chawton House Library also had one of the silhouette postcards for sale at their table….I bought you one as a surprise, but have now let the cat out of the bag!


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