The Penny Post Weekly Review ~ All Things Jane Austen!

The Penny Post Weekly Review

December 12, 2011

News /Gossip

Author Lev Raphael on “Thank you Jane Austen”

A website I just stumbled upon [yet not new!] Why Jane : A Truth Universally Acknowledged.

JASNA ~  National & Regional News

A new blog:  a gentleman [we shall call him Janeite Kirk] who belongs to not just one but TWO Boston Jane Austen Reading Groups came to our JASNA-Vermont tea this past week and he told me their blog with some fine pictures and many links to “All Things Jane Austen”:
Austen in Boston: A Jane Austen Reading Group
They also have a facebook page here:

JASNA Eastern PA is having a Jane Austen Day celebration on April 28, 2012.  You can read all about it on their website, where you will find a link to their youtube videos: – they also have a facebook page:, and a youtube channel:

Vermont News 

[Image from: Cactus Creek Daily]

Hooked in the Mountains – Stuck in Vermont, and you can visit the website of the Green Mountain Rug Hooking Guild here: 

The Shelburne Museum has posted information on the use of LED lights to illuminate your collections:

The Circulating Library 

The British Library has made available its British Newspaper Archive
Just type in “Jane Austen” and you will be kept busy for hours!

And read this review of the archive at The Digital Victorianist: 

And for other newspaper archives, see this link at the Library of Congress to their Newspaper Resource List and also Newspaper Archives on the Web  

  • Books I am Looking Forward to… 

From the National Portrait Gallery:
Imagined Lives: Portraits of Unknown People

Eight internationally acclaimed authors have invented imaginary biographies and character sketches based on fourteen unidentified portraits. Who are these men and women, why were they painted, and why do they now find themselves in the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery? With fictional letters, diaries, mini-biographies and memoirs, Imagined Lives creates vivid stories about these unknown sitters from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

For your iphone, ipad and such: Ebook Treasures: We already know that Austen’s History of England is available from the British Library, but look at this, a 14th Century Cookbook:

“The Forme of Cury is the oldest surviving cookbook in the world, dating from the late 14th century. Originally made by the cooks of the court of Richard II, very few copies survive, and this one, from the John Rylands Library in Manchester, is probably the best and earliest. Written in Middle English, the script can be hard to interpret, and some of the recipes unfamiliar. The book gives an incredible insight into medieval kitchens, as well as medieval life itself.  The book contains one hundred and ninety-four recipes which reveal the amazing variety and elaboration of the dishes available to the elite, including stews, roast dishes, jellies, tarts and custards. Among the recipes are ‘Chyckens in gravey’, ‘Blank manger’ (a white savory stew, from which the word ‘blancmange’ derives),‘Furmente with porpays’ (porpoise in wheat porridge), and ‘Crypses’ (fried pastries). 

The manuscript is still in a very worn, and possibly original, binding and it may well have been used as a practical cookery book in an aristocratic or royal kitchen. However, unlike modern recipe books, the Forme of Cury doesn’t give exact quantities or cooking times, so a lot is left to the skill and imagination of the cook. 

This iBook contains the complete manuscript along with transcriptions from the Middle English. iTunes £3.99 ” [from the website]___________________________________

 An Introduction to the Tokens at the Foundling Museum, by Janette Bright & Gillian Clark. Price:   £5.00

[with thanks to the Two Nerdy History Girls for the heads-up]

Michael Dirda of the Washington Post reviews Death Comes to Pemberley – this is on the top of my TBR pile… 

For those non-vegetarians out there with an interest in the Meat of London, here is a tasty read [and perhaps an unsettling one?]: 

Meat, Commerce and the City: The London Food Market, 1800–1855 by Robyn Metcalfe –  all you ever wanted to know about the Smithfield Meat Market, due out in March 2012 from Pickering & Chatto.
[image from Victorian]

Tides of War, by Stella Tillyard  

An epic novel about love and war, set in Regency England and Spain during the Peninsular War (1812-15), by the acclaimed historian and bestselling author of “Aristocrats.” Tides of War opens in England with the recently married, charmingly unconventional Harriet preparing to say goodbye to her husband, James, as he leaves to join the Duke of Wellington’s troops in Spain….

And read a review at

A book about the plague, Ralph Tailor’s Summer by Keith Wrightson – visit the publisher Yale Books where you can read a fascinating extract from the preface.

And it is always a good habit to check out the newest titles at GirlebooksThe Female Quixote, by Charlotte Lennox.

Robert Adam - Wikipedia

If architecture is your passion, here is a new work, also published by Pickering & Chatto:  Robert and James Adam, Architects of the Age of Enlightenment, by Ariyuki Kondo, available now… 

  • Articles of Interest 

Lynda A. Hall. “A View from Confinement: Persuasion’s Resourceful Mrs. Smith.” Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 7.3 (Winter 2011).

And John Mullan with another of  his “Ten Best” at The Guardian– Austen makes the list yet again!

Charles Dickens ~ his 200th birthday!

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens is getting a good number of  exhibitions all over in celebration of his 200th birthday: you can check the various happenings at the Dickens 2012 website.  

Here are a few of the current offerings: 

*Dickens Christmas Tour at National Gallery:

*Dickens at the British Library: A Hankering after Ghosts: Charles Dickens and the Supernatural, British Library,London, until March 4 2012

Info at:

And here:

Dickens and London at the Museum of London:

Bleak House 1st ed. - Museum of London

*There is also the Dickens Exhibition at The Morgan Library.  Here is the online component you can visit without leaving home: you can view 20 pages of A Christmas Carol and read a letter penned by Dickens…

Dickens - Morgan Library

*Penelope Wilton reading Claire Tomalin’s Dickens biography at the BBC:
[with thanks to Tony G.!]

 Museum Musings ~ Exhibition Trekking 

Yale Exhibition - Adapting the Eye

Yale Centre for British Art: Adapting the Eye: An Archive of the British in India, 1770–1830 [October 11, 2011–December 31, 2011] 

 Organized to complement the Center’s major exhibition on Johan Zoffany, who spent six productive years in India, Adapting the Eye explores the complex and multifaceted networks of British and Indian professional and amateur artists, patrons, and scholars in British India in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and their drive to create and organize knowledge for both aesthetic and political purposes. Selected from the Center’s rich holdings, the exhibition includes a diverse range of objects from both high art and popular culture, including albums, scrapbooks, prints, paintings, miniatures, and sculpture, demonstrating how collecting practices and artistic patronage in India during that period constituted a complex intersection of culture and power.

Auction News 

At auction this coming week:  Bonham’s Fine Books and manuscripts, December 15, 2011:

 Lot No: 5159  WALKER, MRS. ALEXANDER. Female Beauty, as Preserved and Improved by Regimen, Cleanliness and Dress. London: Thomas Hurst, 1837.

8vo (183 x 107mm). With 11 lithographed illustrations, 10 hand-colored, each with hand-colored overlay, showing how physical characteristics (thick waist, broad jaws, short limbs, etc.) can be camouflaged in order to enhance one’s appearance. Later morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, spine gilt, a.e.g. Custom slipcase. Some staining to spine, minor foxing throughout, offset from plates.  Estimate: US$500 – 700. 

And more of Mr. Dickens! Lot No: 5177: DICKENS, CHARLES. 1812-1870.

A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas. London: Chapman & Hall, 1843.

8vo. [viii], 166, [2] ad pp. Hand-colored engraved frontispiece and 3 hand-colored plates. Original cloth blindstamped and gilt, a.e.g. Custom morocco pull-off case by Scroll Club Bindery. Pp 64-70 lightly foxed, binding slightly cocked and faded.

Provenance: Jerome Kern (morocco book label); Frank Brewer Bemis [1861-1935],Bostoncollector, whose collection was dispersed by Rosenbach and Goodspeed (bookplate). 

FIRST EDITION, THE KERN-BEMIS COPY. Second issue of the text, with “Stave One” on page [1], title page in red and blue dated 1843, and yellow endpapers, but first state of the binding (the closest interval between blindstamped border and gilt holly wreath being 14-15 mm not 12 mm, and the upper left serif of D intact). Todd calls this binding point a “desideratum … encompassing all the others,” and of greater importance in priority than the textual points (The Book Collector, 1961, pp 449-454). Eckel, p 116; Sadleir 684.  Estimate: US$4,000 – 6,000.

 Lot No: 5284 : GEORGE III. 1738-1820.

Document Signed (“George R.”), 1 p (with conjoined docketed blank), folio, St. James’s, May 25, 1781, being a pay warrant for General Henry Seymour Conway for the Royal Horse Guards for the year 1779, additionally signed by CHARLES JENKINSON, Earl of Liverpool, toned, tape stains at upper and lower right corners, small chips at edges, matted and framed.

Provenance: with Thomas F. Madigan,New Yorkautograph dealer (signed letter of authenticity, October 26, 1935). Estimate: US$800 – 1,200.

 Prices Realized at Auction: 

Mr. Dickens yet again!: A complete set in fine bindings of the first editions of Charles Dickens’s Christmas Books. Five volumes, uniformly bound, London, 1843-1848. Includes A Christmas Carol. Sold for $6,480. [Swann]


Dance Card for the Union Ball in Honor of the Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, $3,840 at Swann Galleries of New York on December 1.

A dance card issued to the guests atLincoln’s inaugural ball in 1861. Courtesy of Swann Galleries.These cards, with die-cut decorative border and a ribbon through one corner, were issued to guests at the inauguration ball inWashington,D.C.on March 4, 1861. On the second of the four pages are listed the twenty-three planned dances that will take place to the music provided by L. F. Weber’s band, while on the third is space to write in one’s partner for each dance. On the rear panel are printed the names of Lincoln and his vice president, Hannibal Hamlin, around an illustration of a bald eagle, captioned “The Constitution.”  [Invitations to the ball appear from time to time and sell for upwards of $8,000, but Swann could find no previous record of a dance card at auction.]

From the ever-interesting Booktryst website:

$7,500. for two albums by Paul Garvani: La Boite aux Lettres [the mailbox] [c1839] at Booktryst: 


Had to share this lovely illustration!


If you have not been following Austenonly’s posts on antique clothing at auction, take a look here: 

London sitings:

*Tony Grant at his London Calling blog on “Tea, just like Jane – Twinings”

*A tour of Dr. Johnson’s London

Reason enough to go to London in May [like one needs a reason…]:  
The Chelsea Flower Show

 Regency Life and Customs 

  • History 

*While searching in the eBritish Library Journal, I came upon this article on “‘Most Secret and Confidential’: The Pressed Copy Nelson Letters at the British Library” by Colin White  – with images [notice Nelson’s writing desk]:

also this article on political poetry of the late Georgian period – all poems about William Pitt: 

and this on Peter Pindar: ttp://

*A blog by the author Sarah J. Waldock: Renaissance and Regency Rummage Repository, where you can find a number of posts about Nelson and the Royal Navy, and other historical goodies…. You can follow her on Twitter as well here:!/SarahJWaldock

  • Cookery:  [via Austenonly, so thank you Julie for these delicious links!] 

Food History Jottings:  the new blog of Ivan Day – and his website on the history of food: 

  • Fashion  [with more thanks to Julie at Austenonly!] 

*Australian Dress register 

*New fashion blog:


If you are into hair collecting [a little late for our Regency tastes, but what good Victorianist is not into hair…], here is a short essay on the topic at Paul Fraser Collectibles.

And then you might like to add this to your collection: Lord Nelson’s hair for £49.95, or Napoleon, and the Duke of Wellingon, all the same price – also Dickens and Steinbeck and Paul McCartney, etc – but alas! – no Jane Austen!  

 – you can view them all here: 
Did I mention that the hair is only 1/16th of an inch?

For Fun

This from How to be a Retronaut, always a fun place to visit : Harry Hill’s Take on Tate  

Harry Hill's Take on Tate

You can purchase the book of postcards here:

And this is way too much fun to look at – The Love Diagrams of Jane Austen at Diana Peterfreund’s website: [visit her site for diagrams of the other novels]

 And finally, this is all over the airwaves, and we will have to wait until December 16th for it all to be unveiled, but visit the website of The Austen to whet your appetite and ponder.…  

**And, see you all on the 16th for the
Jane Austen Birthday Soiree!**

 Copyright @2011 Jane Austen in Vermont

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