Lot 84
  • 84

Austen, Jane

8,000 - 12,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Austen, Jane
  • Fragment of an autograph letter, to her niece Anna Lefroy (née Austen), 
  • ink on paper
describing a visit to her younger nieces at her brother Charles's family home ("...Cassy was excessively interested about your marrying, when she heard of it .... She asked a thousand questions, in her usual way - what he said to you? And you to him?..."), ten lines, [23 Hans Place, London, 29 November 1814], with, on the verso, fragments of pen practices ("Miss J Austen | Hans Place | Sloane Street" etc.) and a black wax seal impression

[with:] Mary Isabel Lefroy, autograph letter signed, to Richard Austen-Leigh, presenting him with this fragment, also mentioning a forthcoming visit to Cambridge to inspect the Sanditon manuscript that had been given to King's College, 2 pages, 4to, 27 October [1931], with envelope


Anna Lefroy (1793-1872), the letter split in 1869 and this fragment given to her son George Benjamin Austen Lefroy (1818-1912) or his daughter Mary Isabel Lefroy (1860-1939); gifted by M.I. Lefroy in 1931 to her cousin Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh (1872-1961); thence by descent

Catalogue Note

JANE AUSTEN IN CONVERSATION WITH CHILDREN. This is a second fragment  from the letter to Anna Lefroy shortly after her marriage (see previous lot). She describes a visit to nieces who had recently lost their mother. Charles Austen's wife, Fanny, had died of complications following childbirth on 6 September 1814 (the baby also died just two weeks later), some two months before this letter was written, and her three daughters were now living with their grandparents, the Palmers, at 22 Keppel Street in Bloomsbury. Cassy, who besieged her aunt with endless questions, was a few weeks short of her sixth birthday. Her sisters, Jane's god-daughter Harriet-Jane, and Frances-Palmer, were respectively four and nearly two. The sisters were joined by their cousin, Francis Austen's daughter Mary-Jane, aged seven, who Jane records as interrogating her on the month of Ben Lefroy's birthday.