A life-size bronze sculpture of Jane Austen has been unveiled in Basingstoke to mark 200 years since the Hampshire author’s death.
Basingstoke sculptor Adam Roud was commissioned to create the first ever known sculpture of Jane Austen, which takes pride of place in the Market Square in Basingstoke. Adam hopes that the statue represents Jane not only as a writer, but also as a strong-willed and independent woman in her own right.
Jane Austen was one of England’s greatest and most celebrated novelists. She was born in 1775 in Steventon, just a few miles outside Basingstoke, where she lived for more than half her life. The places, people and landscapes of the borough had an enormous influence on her novels, and she created the first draft ofPride and Prejudice whilst living at Steventon, where her father was vicar of St Nicholas Church. Jane Austen knew Basingstoke well: she attended social gatherings at the Assembly Rooms in Market Square, near the current-day Lloyds Bank, and regularly visited family friends at the Vyne, Oakley Hall and Ashe House, amongst others.
Basingstoke MP,  Maria Miller, who has been working with Hampshire Cultural Trust to bring the project to fruition, said; “Jane Austen is a writer of worldwide repute. Born in the Borough, she is a woman who broke the mould in her generation.
I am delighted that she is recognized in a sculpture by Adam Roud. It is a fitting tribute to her status not just as a local writer, but as one of the finest and most-loved authors the world has known.”
Maria added “My desire to create a lasting memorial to Jane Austen in her home Borough unveiled some staggering truths. There are no public Statues of this much loved author. Basingstoke is delighted to make sure Jane is recognised not only in the borough but celebrates being home to the first sculpture of this world famous writer.”
Jane Austen’s Biographer, Claire Tomalin commented; 'Nothing could be better than a sculpture of Jane Austen hurrying across the Market Square to collect library books, do a little shopping or pick up her mother from Dr Lyford’s house – living the busy family life into which she fitted the writing that has made her world famous.  It is an inspired idea and will be welcomed by everyone who reads her novels and cares for her memory.'