Sitting With Jane, an art trail of 24 BookBenches inspired by Jane Austen has officially launched in Basingstoke, Hampshire.
This unique free public art trail will mark the 200th anniversary (2017) of English novelist Jane Austen's death. The BookBenches have each been painted by a professional artist to feature an Austen inspired design, and have been located on public view at various locations in and around Basingstoke from 17th June until 31st August 2017.
Ipswich artist Lois Cordelia had her design "Look Upon Verdure" chosen for the trail and travelled 150 miles to Basingstoke in February to paint it onto a BookBench. Lois took 4.5 hours (interspersed with breaks!) on Tuesday 28th February to transform the blank white BookBench, using acrylic paints, lots of metallic and iridescent colours and a large brush. She had also prepared her own paper-cut stencils of two quotations of Jane Austen, illustrating her love of Nature, in which Lois set herself the special challenge of imitating Austen's handwriting and even her signature (as it appears on her will - see below). Jane invites us to pause in our hectic modern lifestyles, sit with her on a bench and rest our eyes on nature, gardens and greenery: “To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.” (Jane Austen, Mansfield Park)
Lois's BookBench will be on public display in the middle of the village of Overton, near Basingstoke, from 17th June until 31st August 2017.