Executed by Ozias Humphry R.A in 1788.

A  portrait, its provenance and history...

Executed by Ozias Humphry R.A in 1788.

A  portrait, its provenance and history...

The Rice Portrait of 





Latest News


Mr Jacob Simon and the Rice Portrait.

As anyone who has followed this story is aware, relations between my family with those at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG) - and particularly with the previous chief curator Mr Jacob Simon - have not been particularly positive or constructive.


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The owners of the Rice portrait have recently posted on their website a new article titled The Jenny on the Parasol.


The article shows three photographs of the handle of the parasol in the Rice Portrait. They are three of some 1500 photographs of the portrait taken by Jean Penicaut, Director of Lumiere Technology in 2012.

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The photographs shown here belong to a series of more than 1500 close-ups taken of the Rice Portrait in 2012, by the art photographer Jean Penicaut in Paris.


They have not been retouched or altered in any way. Can you see the writing?

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JULY 2016

This is the latest research by Ellie Bennett about the Rice Portrait and the linen stamp on the back of the picture, including a fascinating link between the Knatchbulls and a wollen draper by the name of Legg.


In this article I am looking a little more closely at the Knight family of Godmersham and examining a link to a woollen draper by the name of Legg.

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JUNE 2016

A Literary Portrait Re-Examined.  Jane Austen and Mary Anne Campion. Part Two. By Ellie Bennett


In 1996 Deirdre Le Faye published an article in The Book Collector titled A Literary Portrait Re-Examined. Jane Austen and Mary Anne Campion. Having summarised the history of the portrait in the first part of her article. Faye then criticises and rejects the suggestion that the portrait may have been commissioned by Jane's Great-Uncle Francis Austen and proposes her own theory - that the portrait is of Mary Anne Campion and painted by Revd Matthew William Peters.

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MAY 2016

A Literary Portrait Re-Examined.  Jane Austen and Mary Anne Campion. Part One. By Ellie Bennett


In 1996 Deirdre Le Faye published an article, A Literary Portrait Re-Examined. Jane Austen and Mary Anne Campion, in the journal The Book Collector. (I have been unable to locate a copy of the article online; if you would like to read it in full then please email me.) In this article she advanced her own theory  - that the portrait is of a distant relative of Austen's called Mary Anne Campion, an opinion she has maintained ever since.

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MAY 2016

18th Century Costume and the Rice Portrait. Are the experts out of date? By Ellie Bennett


The arguments surrounding the dating of the dress of the girl in the Rice Portrait have been rumbling on for years and remain the main reason given by the National Portrait Gallery for refusing to accept it is a portrait of Jane Austen.

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APRIL 2016

Facts Are Stubborn Things: Why a Brimful of Tricks doesn't stack up  - Part Two


Ellie Bennett has been researching the portraits of Jane Austen for the past four years. In this latest piece of research she critically examines the Brimful of Tricks article by Henrietta Foster and Kathryn Sutherland, published in the Times Literary Supplement in July 2014 . We have previously posted Part One of Ellie's response. Part Two is reproduced below.

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Facts Are Stubborn Things: Why a Brimful of Tricks doesn't stack up.  From: Portraits of Jane Austen. http://janeaustenportraits.blogspot.co.uk/


Ellie Bennett has been researching the portraits of Jane Austen for the past four years. In this latest piece of research she critically examines the Brimful of Tricks article by Henrietta Foster and Kathryn Sutherland, published in the Times Literary Supplement in July 2014 . Part One of Ellie's response to the article is reproduced below. Part Two will follow soon.

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This article has been submitted to us by author Ellie Bennett, who is researching the portraits of Jane Austen for her forthcoming book. You can read more about her research at http://janeaustenportraits.blogspot.co.uk/


Elizabeth (Eliza) Hall (1799-1831) has hitherto been something of an enigma in the picture's line of provenance. Apart from being contemporarily described as 'a great admirer of the novelist' -  thus qualifying as the earliest recorded Janeite - there was apparently no other reason why she should have been given the picture by Colonel Thomas Austen, Jane's cousin, as a wedding present in 1818.

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Brian Sewell, a brilliant writer and longtime art critic for the Evening Standard, died on the 19th of September, 2015.  Always outspoken and fearless in his views, Sewell was revered and feared in equal measure by the British art world. Many of the foremost figures in that fraternity have paid tribute to his influence, in the aftermath of his death.  

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JUNE 2015


The following condition and conservatiion report on the Rice Portrait was compiled by the Paris-based restorer Eva Schwan, who examined and cleaned the picture, millimeter by millimeter,  over many months (2010-2011).


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MARCH 2015


The following is an excerpt from Terry Townsend's forthcoming book, 'Jane Austen's Kent,' due to be published on 9th of June 2015. Mr Townsend's research proves to be of great importance to the Rice Portrait, inasmuch as it shows that a clear connection between Ozias Humphry and the Austen family in 1788, when we believe Humphry's portrait of Jane as a young girl was initiated.  We are most grateful to the author for allowing us to place this preview on our website, and we strongly recommend his book to anyone interested in the life and times of Jane Austen.

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'The following ‘Summary of Conclusive Evidence’ was published in 1997 by Margaret Campbell Hammond and Richard Wheeler. A fine piece of scholarly invective, it went almost unnoticed 18 years ago. At that time the internet was not available as a vehicle with which to confront the art establishment in Great Britain with truths it would rather ignore.

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Three Leggs and Counting...

The presence of an Excise stamp  on the back of the Rice Portrait, reading Wm Legg, High

Holbourn 1, Linen, was first revealed when the painting was relined in the 1980’s.


Over a decade later, in 1996, the stamp was seized upon by Mr Jacob Simon of the NPG, author

and assembler of the NPG’s monumental British Artists’ Suppliers website.


Although he had not seen it and misquoted what it said, Mr Simon took this stamp to be

proof positive that the portrait could not represent Jane Austen, or be by Ozias Humphry.

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Spontaneous Composite Portraits of Jane Austen

One evening, in an attempt to compare the Rice, Stanier Clarke, and Cassandra Austen portraits of Jane Austen, I

equalized the size and angle of the heads, erased the lines under the eyes of the Cassandra portrait, and placed the three

in a horizontal configuration on my computer screen in order to better see the relative disposition of features.

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Acume Roadmap


Stephen Cole has now kindly supplied us with full technical details of how to replicate his original work on the writing he discovered on the front of the 1910 Emery Walker photographic plate of  the portrait.


He writes:  “This will get any competent Photoshop user to the point where the text is clearly visible with magnification; this should suffice to confirm the presence of the text and allow for replication and maybe even improvement on my original work”.


Full details of Mr. Cole’s directions can be downloaded here:  click here.



MARCH 2014

Stephen Cole, Director of Acume Forensics

Stephen Cole has an international reputation, and we ourselves were unaware of the sheer breadth of expertise and experience his firm, Acume, has in the field of specialized photographic imaging.

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Proof of the Authenticity of the Rice Portrait

We believe this is the most important and revealing article we have yet put on our website. Professor Johnson has just written

an article in the TLS in which she states that the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen is correct. We are reproducing that article here on

our website so that all interested parties can see it.


We are also, for the first time, making available the complete forensics report, produced by Stephen Cole of Acume

Forensics, on the digital photographs that he received directly from The Heinz library - part of the National Portrait Gallery.


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Website Design by Aimee Bell at www.authordesignstudio.com.

More news



This is the very latest picture of the portrait of Jane Austen taken by Richard Valencia in London. The reastoration has been finished by Eva Schwann and I have never seen a better image of Jane Austen’s Portrait. The image copyright is with the Bridgeman Art Library. If anyone wishes to use it in an article could they please apply to Bridgemans directly.


Restorer Eva Schwann discovered the H within the O monogram after removing previous overpainting underneath the parasol tip. The monogram slants to the left  






Anjana Ahuja, the Financial Times and the right to privacy.

On 01 April 2017 a prominent article appeared in the Financial Times by science journalist Anjana Ahuja.  The article was not about science but about a picture she had purchased privately at an auction in November 2015. She paid £400 for the picture which the auction house described as 'attributed to James Northcote'. The portrait was signed Northcote  and dated 1803, but looked distinctly odd with rubbing out of the paint under the signature....


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It is rare for new evidence to be uncovered relating to Jane Austen. It is rarer still for a document to come to light from someone who was close to Jane’s immediate family. So, the appearance of a previously unknown note, written by Jane Austen’s great-niece Fanny Caroline Lefroy (1820-1885), is

a significant discovery.


Even more exciting is the fact that the note relates to the painting known as the Rice Portrait... Read more.


In recent years a great deal of new evidence has emerged which supports the Rice Portrait being, as we have always claimed, a portrait of a young Jane Austen. This evidence has been shared on our website as it has emerged. However we are aware that there is now so much evidence that it is difficult to sift through it all! In this document researcher Ellie Bennett has collated the key facts into one document which presents the case for the Rice Portrait being a portrait of Jane Austen, painted by Ozias Humphry in 1789. We hope you enjoy reading it. We very much appreciate feedback so please do let us know what you think via our Contact Page. You can read the article HERE.



We recently revealed new evidence that the Rice Portrait is indeed a portrait of Jane Austen in the form of a personal research note written by Fanny Caroline Lefroy, Jane Austen's grand-niece. You can read more about this HERE. We are delighted that the Guardian newspaper has reported on this new evidence, which has generated a great deal of interest.  You can read the Guardian article HERE.


New evidence of the envelope and note written by Fanny Caroline Lefroy in support of the Rice portrait of Jane Austen.

There are many examples of Fanny’s handwriting in archives particularly the Hampshire record office if any scholar out there wishes to verify this note Anne Rice has said that she is entirely happy to give access.

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MARCH 2019

We have been extremely privileged to have had the support of Stephen Cole and his company, Acumé Forensic, experts in the field of digital forensics in our efforts to prove the Rice Portrait. Stephen has carried out many hours of work on this, notwithstanding his extremely heavy workload, simply because he believes this portrait is important for Jane Austen’s legacy and to all those who love her work . This work has all be done without recompense.

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JUNE 2019

The Rice portrait and the Northcote farce.

In April 2017 an article was published in the Financial Times which ostensibly claimed that a £400 portrait purchased by journalist Anjana Ahuja at auction disproved the claim of the Rice Portrait to be Jane Austen. My mother, Mrs Anne Rice, was given less than 24 hours to comment before the article was submitted for publication, and after the article was published, she was denied a right to reply by the Financial Times.

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JUNE 2019

Startling new evidence has recently emerged in favour of the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen, in the form of a previously unknown Victorian watercolour. The watercolour was purchased at a second-hand shop in London by a member of the public who, realising that it was a copy of the Rice Portrait, contacted the owners. The painting is particularly interesting in that it shows the Rice Portrait as it was before 1920, when it narrowly escaped destruction in a catastrophic house fire and was subsequently cut to fit a Victorian frame.

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