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Professor Claudia L. Johnson on the Rice Portrait in the Times Literary Supplement

Jane Austen to the Life?

At last I can tell you all about the very latest evidence on the Rice Portrait!
Recently published in the Times Literary Supplement is an excellent article by Professor Claudia L. Johnson on the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen. As she states ... it would now seem that there is decisive evidence that the “Rice Portrait” of Jane Austen (seen here in a photograph from 1910) is indeed an authentic likeness of the novelist, made in her lifetime. This evidence consists of the three lines of script in the upper right-hand corner, in the area outlined in yellow. First, the artist’s signature: Ozia[s] Humphry, R.A. Second, the date of the portrait: 178* (that last digit is probably a nine). And third, the name of the sitter: Jane Austen.


Professor Johnson highlights some of the debates that have ensued over the years, but continues:
We would still be at an impasse were it not for a singular stroke of luck. In 1910, Sir Ernest Rice, then owner of the portrait, hired the promin…