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.
"Look Upon Verdure"
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.
Above: Lois with Clare and Amanda from De La Rue
Below: Lois created her own set of paper-cut stencils to evoke the beautiful handwriting of Jane Austen, including this interpretation of Austen's signature.
Below: Lois uses her own hand-made paper-cut stencils to transfer Jane Austen's quotations onto the BookBench.
Lois' design "Look Upon Verdure" has been generously sponsored by De La Rue, whose headquarters are located near Basingstoke.
The trail will encourage visitors to explore both well known and less frequented parts of north Hampshire, from beautiful villages and rural landscapes that have scarcely changed since Austen's time to modern visitor attractions, landmarks and great shopping. After the trail finishes at the end of August, the BookBenches will be auctioned off on 15th September 2017 to raise much needed funds to support the vital work of Ark Cancer Centre Charity. The trail is presented by Wild in Art and Destination Basingstoke, in association with Festival Place.