Chawton hopes to buy Austen ring
Jane Austen’s House Museum has raised more than £100,000 as part of an appeal to raise £152,450 to keep a ring once owned by the author in Britain after it was bought by a US popstar.
Kelly Clarkson acquired the turquoise and gold ring at auction at Sotheby’s in London last year, but Ed Vaizey, the Culture Minister, put an export ban on it until September 30 to allow someone in Britain “to show a serious expression of interest to buy the ring”. They must then produce the funds by December.
This “serious expression of interest” has now been lodged by the museum, which is based in Chawton, Hampshire, and today the appeal has received a £100,000 anonymous donation.
Louise West, from the museum, said: “We are very confident we can match this price.”
The museum was unable to raise enough cash at the time of the original sale, but hopes to get enough funds in place by December. It
has also invited Ms Clarkson to the museum. So far the singer has not replied.
Jane Austen’s House Museum already displays two other pieces of jewellery owned by the writer – a turquoise bracelet and a topaz cross. Until it was sold, the ring had remained in the Austen family. (PA)