Welcome back to Chawton House Library Conversations: October Podcast. First launched on Sunday 8 March 2015 while celebrating International Women’s Day, our monthly podcast is a round up of news, events and highlights, helping you stay connected with Chawton House Library wherever you are.

This month we look at our new and final exhibition of the year. ‘Pens, Paintbrushes and Pioneers: Portrait of a Woman Writer’ focusses on four pioneering women writers and how they have been portrayed in various mediums, such as paintings, frontispieces, and written pictures. Dr Kim Simpson, our Postdoctoral Fellow, tells us more about Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Maria Graham, Mary Robinson, and Jane Austen, and how they fit into the exhibition. Mary Robinson for instance, whose portrait hangs in the Great Hall, was a famous actress and known as mistress to the Prince of Wales. Yet she also produced wonderful poetry. The exhibition is on until Friday 27th October when we close to the public. To find out more about the exhibition, click here.

Professor Emma Clery tells us about Jane Austen’s banker brother Henry, who owned banks both in London and Alton. She gave a fascinating talk here on her new book Jane Austen: The Banker’s Sister, detailing Henry Austen’s role as Jane’s literary agent, as well as his spectacular bankruptcy. The release of this dual biography is particularly apt, given the release of the new £10 note, featuring Jane Austen. Emma discusses the special relationship Jane had with her favourite brother Henry, and the enormously important role he played in getting her published. Without him, we may never have read her works!

Director of Fundraising Jane Lillystone tells us about our latest campaign, beginning in November. This is the #BrickbyBrick campaign, whereby supporters can ‘buy a brick’ to save the Great House. More details to follow! In the meantime keep up to date with our fundraising news at Jane’s Great House.

Finally we hear about ‘Operation Deep Clean’ happening here at the library from Librarian Darren Bevin. As the library closes to the public for the winter months, this gives a chance for the 10,000 rare books to be properly cleaned. The tireless work of the volunteers means these wonderful books can be conserved for posterity. We speak to two of the volunteers who will be taking part in this work. Our final intern of the year, Sophia McGrath, also tells us about some of the work she does here at the library and how her Masters has helped her.

Look as you listen:

Pens, Paintbrushes & Pioneers: Portrait of a Woman Writer exhibition


Professor Emma Clery giving her talk


Operation deep clean