Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Jane Austen's home had 'upside down wallpaper'

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Media captionJane Austen's home 'reinterpreted' using wallpaper find

Fragments of faulty wallpaper discovered in corners of Jane Austen's former home have allowed curators to "reinterpret" its interior.

Jane Austen's House Museum is marking the bicentenary of the author's death by redecorating the rooms as they would have been when Austen was living there.

It is thought the some of the paper was accidentally hung upside down in the house in Chawton, Hampshire.

The replica wall coverings have been made using 19th Century techniques.

Recreating the papers was not as straightforward as expected because the hand-printed motifs bore mistakes, leading wallpaper specialists Hamilton Weston to believe they were "seconds".

At the time, wallpaper was an expensive luxury and heavily taxed so it is thought the Austen family, who were not rich, may have bought the paper cheaply.

Image caption The original paper found in family room is thought to have been hung upside down

Curator Mary Guyatt said: "There was a motif they could not make sense of and after some puzzling they realised there was a manufacturing fault in this paper.

"There's a central motif that looks like a bit like a spider - that was meant to have a rosebud there.

"The person who was hanging the paper didn't have that to go on. If it had been there he would have understood immediately which way round it was supposed to be."

The house, which was closed for the winter, has reopened to the public with a new exhibition - 41 Objects - which showcases some of the author's treasures including jewellery and a three-volume first edition of Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813.

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