A waxwork of the 'real' Jane Austen is unveiled in Bath

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Jane Austen waxworkImage source, Jane Austen Centre
Image caption,
Jane Austen is thought to have shared family traits of a long nose and sparkly brown eyes

A waxwork of Jane Austen which has taken three years to produce has been unveiled in Bath.

With no "acceptable likeness" of the author, the Jane Austen Centre claims it is the closest "anyone has come to the real Jane Austen for 200 years".

It has been created using eyewitness accounts, and the help of Emmy award-winning costume designer Andrea Galer and an FBI-trained forensic artist.

The waxwork went on show to the public in Bath earlier.

The only confirmed portrait of Austen made during her lifetime is by her sister, Cassandra.

'Sucking lemons'

Melissa Dring, forensic artist, said she used the small pencil and watercolour sketch as a "starting point" for her pastel portrait, which became the basis for the waxwork.

"[Cassandra's portrait] does make it look like she's been sucking lemons," Ms Dring said. "She has a somewhat sour and dour expression.

"But we know from all accounts of her, she was very lively, very great fun to be with and a mischievous and witty person."

Image source, Jane Austen Centre

Who was Jane Austen?

  • Jane Austen was born on 16 December 1775
  • One of eight children of a clergyman
  • Sense and Sensibility, her first novel, appeared in 1811
  • Books notable for wit, social observation and insight
  • Died on 18 July 1817 after treatment for Addison's disease
  • Two novels, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey published posthumously

Source: BBC History

Ms Dring said she was confident the "3D portrait" taken from her drawing was "pretty much like her".

"She came from a large Austen family and they all seemed to share the long nose, the bright sparkly brown eyes and curly brown hair," she said.

"[The waxwork] is as close as anyone can possibly get to her."

Jane Austen was born in Hampshire in 1775 and died, at the age of 41, in 1817 in Winchester.

In 2007, a BBC poll for World Book Day voted Pride and Prejudice as the book most respondents could not live without.

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