Inside Jane Austen`s old home at Chawton, the rooms have been decorated and furnished to represent the homely but elegant interior that the Austen family knew so well. Many artifacts and pieces of furniture belonged to the Austens and were the intimate objects of everyday life.
On the range, above, a simmering copper kettle would have been ready to provide hot water for household tasks, as well as for a precious drink of tea.
Below, is a portrait of Edward Austen, Jane`s brother, who lived with his family at the nearby Chawton House Estate and who provided the village cottage as a home for Jane, Cassandra and their mother.
Here is the small, worn writing table where Jane sat to write some of her greatest novels. This little table has such significance, yet it remains a homely piece of furniture where one can imagine the seated figure of Jane, pausing to dip her pen into ink and to gaze out of the window while inspiration flows.
Upstairs, is the small bedroom shared by Jane and Cassandra. There is a view into the garden. There is a feeling of Jane`s hand upon the window catch as she lets in the scented air on a summer morning.
From a front bedroom, there is a view of the lane where thatched workers` cottages stand in small, flowering gardens.
From the landing, are outbuildings and the courtyard of the cottage.
A garden view.....
...and a posy of garden dahlias on the landing.
The stairs where Jane would have climbed her candlelit way to bed........
...and the beautiful, intricate patchwork quilt that Jane and Cassandra worked together.
After our visit to Chawton Cottage, we crossed the village street to have lunch in the pretty tea room opposite. Its name is Cassandra`s Cup. On the ceiling, hang a collection of old and dainty china cups. Survivors of treasured tea sets and silent witnesses to a thousand teatime conversations from years gone by.