The music collection of novelist Jane Austen and her family is being made freely available to access online as part of a University of Southampton digital library project.
The Austen Family Music Books is a collection of 18 albums of music containing around 600 pieces that belonged to the 19th century writer and her relations. The imaging of the books was carried out at the University’s Hartley Library Digitisation Unit.
Professor of Music at Southampton Jeanice Brooks, who led the project, says: “Jane Austen’s novels are full of musical scenes, and this collection will help literature scholars and Austen fans to better understand the real musical environment that fed the novelist’s imagination. Just as importantly, the collection provides music historians with a unique glimpse of the musical life of an extended gentry family in the years around 1800.”
This digitisation project is a collaboration between researchers at the University of Southampton and the books’ current owners, with assistance from Chawton House Library. It features albums held by Jane Austen’s House Museum (Chawton, Hampshire) and the private collections of two Austen descendants, Professor Richard Jenkyns and Mr Richard Knight. The release is in anticipation of the 2017 bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death, so events mounted for the anniversary can draw on the music Austen knew and performed herself.
New Digital Collection: Jane Austen’s Family Music Books Digitised and Now Available Online
Filed by December 17, 2015on