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 Third Primary Evidence


The third piece of Primary evidence for the Rice portrait of Jane Austen, provided by Lord Brabourne, Jane’s great nephew to his publishers, Bentleys in 1884


Again, this correspondence is published below. The original letters are in the Jane Austen museum at Chawton, where the late Brian Southam discovered them. Lord Brabourne was the eldest son of Fanny Knight, who married a Knatchbull Hugesson. He was Jane Austen’s great nephew, as also were John Hubback and Morland Rice. They were all cousins.


In 1884, he published the first book about Jane, her “Life and Letters”. He is discussing illustrations for his book with his publisher, Bentleys. He relates how he has written to Mr Cholmeley Austen-Leigh about Morland Rice’s portrait, and that Mr Cholmeley Austen-Leigh has replied that if Morland’s portrait is authentic, it must be, “of Jane when she is a young girl of 14 or 15.” He adds that he has asked Morland Rice, “without communication with Mr Austen-Leigh about the age of the sitter in the Rice Portrait, and has been told it is of a girl of 14 or 15”. He concludes therefore, “I incline to think that it is a true Bill”.


Mr Cholmeley Austen-Leigh therefore knew of the portrait’s existence, being a generation older than Brabourne or Rice, and said so. This, again, is important contemporary evidence that the Rice Portrait is a “True Bill”.  


A true bill means the “genuine article”.

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