We know that Jane Austen was as skillful with a needle as she was with a pen. She was a keen amateur embroiderer who was praised for being so ‘excellent in satin stitch’ that she would have put ‘a sewing machine to shame’. Jane’s letters document her embellishing caps and gowns while trying and failing to guard the patterns so that her friends couldn’t mimic her style. But where she did get her patterns from? The most likely source is the Lady’s Magazine (1770-1832), a hugely successful women’s magazine that Jane Austen read and that for 50 years provided readers with monthly embroidery patterns. In this talk, Jennie Batchelor discusses her chance discovery of some of these presumed lost patterns and the new book she has written with Alison Larkin, Jane Austen Embroidery (2019).
About the author:
Jennie Batchelor started her career as the very first Chawton House Library Postdoctoral Fellow. She is currently Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of Kent. Jennie has written widely on women’s writing, eighteenth-century dress and early women’s magazines. She has appeared on the New Statesman’s Hidden Histories podcast, BBC Radio 4, and was interviewed for Lucy Worsley’s Jane Austen: Behind Closed Doors. Jennie is Patron of the Kent branch of the Jane Austen Society.