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 





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. The article was designed to discredit the Rice Portrait and unsurprisingly, has caused some followers of the story to doubt the claim of the Rice Portrait to be Austen.


Researcher Ellie Bennett has been examining the claims of the article and has discovered that many of the claims made in the article do not stack up. Moreover, since the article was published Ms Ahuja has consistently refused to allow sight of the Northcote portrait which she claims disproves the Rice Portrait. The National Portrait Gallery have also refused to supply high resolution photographs of the Legg stamp on the back of the Northcote portrait which allegedly is identical to that on the back of the Rice Portrait.


Until the Northcote portrait is produced and verified, I do not believe that any weight whatsoever should be placed on this painting as disproving the Rice Portrait, and indeed, the refusal to produce it leads me to the inevitable conclusion that this painting is not as claimed. I believe that Anjana Ahuja and Jacob Simon conspired to present the Northcote painting as proof against the Rice Portrait when it is in fact nothing of the kind.


More and more evidence is coming to light in support of the Rice Portrait. That the National Portrait Gallery should continue to rely on this extremely suspicious 'evidence' from Anjana Ahuja in the face of all the facts raises serious questions about the Gallery's impartiality with regard to the Rice Portrait. As is well known, the National Portrait Gallery tried to purchase the Rice Portrait in the 1930s and were refused - it is my belief that all subsequent opposition to this painting of Jane Austen stems from this rejection.


Johnnie Nettlefold

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Stephen Cole, Director of Acume Forensics

Stephen Cole has an international reputation and his firm, Acume, has long experience and trusted expertise in the highly specialized field of photographic imaging. Acume regularly undertakes far more important work than this on the international stage, whose significance so dwarfs our own concerns that we hesitate to compare them. See the 'Enquiry Link' below.


As a world leader in the identification and analysis of photographic images, Stephen Cole himself  is valued as a distinguished witness and collaborator by three of the most eminent advocates in the United Kingdom, not to mention the Secretary General of the United Nations.





R W Chapman


Sir Henry Hake, Director of the National Portrait Gallery 1927-1951

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 23.44.19

National Portrait Gallery card holding an image of the portrait with NPG date stamp 1987. Date is given as c.1790