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Moorcroft will make a donation to Jane Austen’s House for each Jane Austen inspired design sold, that carries the special Jane Austen backstamp, supporting the conservation and engagement work carried out at this special place.

On Friday 27th September, join Jane Austen's House Director Lizzie Dunford, at the Moorcroft Heritage Visitor Centre in Stoke-on-Trent, as she explores the connections of Britain's greatest writer with the coast that surrounds our islands from her admiral brothers to adventures at Lyme Regis.

Discover new designs by Emma Bossons FRSA, Kerry Goodwin and Paul Hilditch, all inspired by Jane Austen and her brother, Admiral of the Fleet, Sir Francis William Austen. Emma will be showcasing how she creates her designs and Paul will be painting his new naval Austen inspired designs. During the day enjoy regency style tea and cakes, and indulge in a glass of complimentary prosecco.

Tickets are £10 per person and can be booked here or by calling 01782 820500 from 9am - 4.30pm, Monday - Friday.

It is well known that Jane Austen’s Emma, the title and lead character of one of her novels, had a passion for matchmaking. In Austen’s time, many a bachelor would have worn a cornflower in his pocket to show his marriage availability. Moorcroft designer Emma Bossons FRSA now captures Jane Austen’s quintessentially English country cottage in Chawton, Hampshire, and sows her own Bachelor’s Buttons in heights around the house itself; gloriously spikey blooms bursts with royal and powder-blues, tinged with violet hues. Other cottage garden flowers join the foray: wild-strawberry pink and wine-coloured aquilegia; a bountiful backdrop of white mock orange blooms, all fluttering and falling like ladies’ petticoats in a breeze.

In 2018, a wallpaper fragment, identified by a tax mark, and produced around 1809, was discovered in the Dining Room of Jane Austen’s home in Chawton. The reproduction block-printed paper, known as Chawton Leaf, now hangs in the Dining Room, where Austen worked at her little table to write all six of her novels, just as she would have known it. Emma has taken inspiration from the green leaves of this exciting find, and weaves blush-pink roses from the base of the vase to the upper ridge. With the back of the rose also captured, the visual of a clambering rose was born, and you can almost picture the Austen ladies with wicker baskets in hand, picking the flowers for the dining table.

Jane Austen’s friend Martha Lloyd wrote a Receipt for Ink within her Household Book, which is today one of the many treasures of Jane Austen’s House. Martha lived at the House, with Jane, Cassandra and Mrs Austen for many years, and her Household Book would have been used regularly in the kitchen. Martha’s manuscript contains not only recipes for food but also recipes for useful household items such as the receipt for ink. In the years before many commercially available preparations were available, homemade recipes were important, and written recipes like Martha’s not only passed essential knowledge onto servants but also preserved them for future generations.

Iron Gall ink is in fact one of the oldest forms of ink known to man. It was certainly used by the Romans and then throughout the ensuing centuries. The components of the ink are important as the galls of the oak tree contain gallotanic acid, which can be released from the galls by crushing them. If this is then mixed with water, a form of iron sulphate and gum Arabic it creates an ink. Jane Austen’s surviving manuscripts were written in a variety of this home-made iron gall ink and Moorcroft wanted to pay homage to the writer by creating a design on both an inkwell but also on a candlestick, the type that Jane may have used to illuminate her work as the nights drew in and the days became darker.

To mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Jane Austen’s older sister, Cassandra, Jane Austen’s House planted an orchard in her name. It is thanks to Cassandra that we have an image of novelist, Jane Austen hanging in the National Gallery, and glimpses of the love and encouragement they both gave to each other in letters where Jane also details flowers and fruit growing in the garden. Verbal sparring over fruit often takes place in Austen’s novels, with her notorious Emma Woodhouse, the 21-year-old protagonist of her 1815 novel Emma, stating 

Mrs. Elton, in all her apparatus of happiness, her large bonnet and her basket, was very ready to lead the way in gathering, accepting, or talking -- strawberries, and only strawberries, could now be thought or spoken of. -- 'The best fruit in England -- every body's favourite -- always wholesome.’ 

 

And so it is with Austen’s Orchard, plump plums, and matt-ochre coloured Ribston Pipin apples dangle temptingly from branches as ghostly gooseberry’s peek through the thicket over rings of kitchen garden strawberries, arching one over another in a decadent tumble of cadmium reds.

Find out more about Jane Austen’s House at www.janeaustenhouse.org

Jane Austen’s House Charity Reg No. 1156458