The Mysterious Miss Austen – the Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre 13th May – 24th July.
Presented in partnership between the Hampshire Cultural Trust and the Jane Austen House museum and featuring five representations of the adult Jane Austen – notably two by her sister Cassandra – shown side by side for what is believed to be the first time in history, and three others from private collections, also the manuscript in Jane’s own hand of an alternative ending to her final novel Persuasion on loan from the British Library. Opening hours: Monday – Friday: 9.00 am – 7.00 pm, Saturday: 9.00 am – 5.00 pm, Sunday: 11.00am – 3.oopm
Jane and her Alton Apothecary – the Allen Gallery, Church Street, Alton 3rd June – 20th August.
In the early stages of her illness, Jane was treated by William Curtis, a qualified apothecary in Alton. His story gives an insight into the role played by members of this ancient profession within their local communities, and it is possible that he might have been the model for the character of Mr Perry, the apothecary in ‘Emma’ who is described as ‘an intelligent, gentlemanlike man’. Opening hours: 10.30 am – 16.30pm
The Navy at the Time of Jane Austen: Fighting, Flirting and Fortune – Gosport discovery Centre, Walpole Road, Gosport 15th July – 20th September
Two of Jane’s brothers – Francis and Charles – served in the British Navy, and there can be little doubt that they provided inspiration for the naval officers who feature in ‘Mansfield Park’ and ‘Persuasion’. This exhibition explores the importance of the navy in Jane’s lifetime in what was a golden era just a few years after the victory at Trafalgar. Opening hours: 9.00 am – 5.00pm
Retail and romance: Jane goes to the Ball – The Sainsbury Gallery, Willis Museum, Market Square, Basingstoke 29th July – 7th October
Jane knew Basingstoke well and her letters are full of references to shopping, descriptions of what was worn to balls and lively gossip and this exhibition is centred on these themes. Opening hours: 9.00am – 5.00pm
Jane’s Winchester: Malady and Medicine – City Space, Winchester Discovery Centre 13th May – 24th July
Jane arrived in Winchester on 24 May 1817 to receive treatment for her illness, and this exhibition offers a snapshot of the city as it was then and the hospitals and doctors who treated her. Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10.00am – 6.00 pm, Saturday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm
Winchester Cathedral is also organising tours – with coffee and cake – on the first Saturday of each month from June to November – contact 01962 857275 or firstname.lastname@example.org – Special group tours for 15 people or more can be arranged. The tour will include a walk through the Inner Close to the house on College St where Jane and Cassandra stayed and will be led by one of the Cathedral’s team of expert volunteer guides. Other events also include outdoor performances of Pride and Prejudice on 28th ,29th,and 30th June (bookable from the Cathedral box office), an exhibition ‘Inspired by the Word’ by contemporary artists celebrating the literature of Hampshire writers – Jane Austen, Edward Thomas and Gilbert White – running from 8 June – 30 September, and a commemorative evensong on 18 July, the anniversary of Jane’s death.