Jane Austen by the Sea
17 June 2017 to 8 January 2018
Prince Regent Gallery
Free with Royal Pavilion admission, members free

A new display at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton will explore Jane Austen’s relationship with the seaside and her views on the Prince Regent and Brighton society during her time, to mark the bicentenary of her death.

Walking Dress, seafront, 1818
From The Repository of arts, literature, commerce, manufactures, fashions and politics, published By Rudolf Ackermann
University of Sussex, special collections
Photo: James Pike Photography

Jane Austen by the Sea will paint a picture of the fashionable resort of Brighton in the early 1800s, when it was a thriving garrison town featured in novels like Pride and Prejudice.

George IV, who created the Royal Pavilion and spent long periods living there when he was Prince Regent, was a high-profile fan of Austen’s – and although she seemed not to approve of his lifestyle she was encouraged to dedicate Emma to him in 1815.

Highlights to include:

  • The manuscript of Jane Austen’s unfinished novel, Sanditon, set in a seaside town in Sussex.
  • Examples of Regency costume and accessories, including a wedding dress that has never been on show before and a dress in the style of the ‘Brighton Walking Dress’ featured in a London fashion magazine in 1817.
  • Letters from Jane Austen to the Prince Regent’s librarian, James Stanier Clarke.
    Military Dandies or Heroes of 1818
    William Heath, published by M. Cleary
  • One of Jane Austen’s music books.
  • Rare images of Brighton as it looked in Jane Austen’s lifetime.

Jane Austen by the Sea will form part of our Regency Season in 2017, which will also include the exhibition Constable and Brighton, and the display Visions of the Royal Pavilion Estate (both at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery).

Also in our Regency Season

Constable and Brighton – Brighton Museum

Visions of the Royal Pavilion Estate – Brighton Museum