Jane Austen Cards
Caroline’s attention to detail is demonstrated by her watercolour scenes, inspired by the books of the acclaimed author Jane Austen, who died in 1817 during the Regency period. These designs came about because Caroline is an admirer of Jane Austen’s writing, and wanted to raise funds for Winchester Cathedral, where she has enjoyed Evensong on many occasions. The Cathedral is where Jane Austen is buried, so popular with literary visitors to the city from around the world.
Caroline proposed to paint a set of four illustrations that would be sold as cards to raise money for the Cathedral. These were two interior and two exterior designs initially.
As realism is important to her, and in her quest to keep her designs authentic, Caroline went to Jane Austen’s house, at Chawton in Hampshire, to capture the scene that Jane herself would have known – including Jane’s actual chair and the window looking out over the countryside. She also visited Box Hill in Surrey, to recreate the picnic scene from ‘Emma’, and featured different interior and exterior views of a fine, Georgian house.
In order to ensure the clothing depicted in her watercolours was accurate, Caroline sought out Regency designs. She went to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to draw from the clothes displayed, as well as borrowing some from an amateur theatre group, and having other pieces made by a dressmaker for her models to wear.
When genuine, Regency period clothes came up for auction at Christies in South Kensington, Caroline was allowed to attend to sketch details of the silks and linens before they went under the hammer.
The original four watercolour designs sold so well that Caroline added to the range, making 36 Jane Austen-inspired illustrations over time, and raising money for charity along the way. These designs remain best sellers 15 years on and over 100,000 cards have been sold to date!
An image showing the back and front of one of the Jane Austen cards which are sold in Winchester Cathedral.