The city of Bath, architectural expression of the ‘Age of Elegance’, has been immortalised by many writers, none more distinguished than Jane Austen. Indeed Austen herself seems to epitomise the same values of taste and restraint, harmony and grace which characterise the city. We explore it through contemporary illustrations and engravings, and views of interiors and exteriors of buildings which featured in Austen’s own life as well as those of characters in her Bath novels (Northanger Abbey and Persuasion). Extracts from those novels and from letters of the time will bring Jane Austen’s Bath to life and will help us understand why, despite the undoubted significance of the city in her life and work; she never really liked the place.
Elizabeth Merry: Elizabeth has over 25 years’ experience lecturing on a range of subjects including classical art and architecture, aspects of the visual arts and the links between literature and art. Has lectured for the WEA, the Universities of Bristol and Southampton Departments of Continuing Education, Royal Society of Arts, Dillington House, Jane Austen Society, Thomas Hardy Society, Brussels Brontë Society, Finzi Society, the Art Fund, Dorset County Museum and literary, historical and philosophical societies nationwide.