Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775 in Steventon, Hampshire. Her father was a reverend and they consequently lived in the village rectory, making their family popular within the local community. Jane was 7th among 8 siblings, namely; James, George, Edward, Henry, Cassandra, Frank, and Charles. James and Henry joined the clergy and Francis and Charles pursued careers in the navy. Edward was adopted at a young age and grew up to be the heir to a very large fortune. George, meanwhile, is considered to have been disabled and did not live with the Austen’s throughout his life. The only female offspring; Jane and Cassandra, were very close throughout their entire lives and never lived apart.
At the age of 8, Jane moved to
In 1789 she wrote her first novel, Love and Friendship (sic), amongst other very amusing juvenilia. By her early twenties, Jane Austen had written the novels that were much later to be published as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Northanger Abbey. She also began a novel called The Watsons which was never completed.
In December 1795/January 1796, Jane Austen met and, possibly, fell in love with an Irishman called Tom Lefroy. He was visiting his aunt and uncle in Ashe, near Steventon, before going to
In 1801, Jane moved with her parents and her sister Cassandra to Bath, which provides the setting for many of her novels. Within
In 1811, six years before her death, her first novel Sense and Sensibility was published, at the expense of her brother Henry. Next, Pride and Prejudice was published and although still anonymous (written "By a Lady"); the work of Jane Austen was gaining a literary reputation.
Jane contracted Addisons Disease, a tubercular disease of the kidneys, and on 18 July 1817 she died at the age of forty-one in the arms of her sister, Cassandra, and was buried in Winchester Cathedral.
First pic: JA silhouette
Second pic: young Tom Lefroy, possibly sketched by John Warren
Third pic: JA painting by Cassandra