The citizens of Basingstoke unveiled their bronze interpretation of the author on Tuesday to mark the 200th anniversary of her death. Happy Deathday, Jane Austen!
CNN reports that it took sculptor Adam Roud five months to produce the life-size figure, which he admits is his “own interpretation of her.” There is a confirmed portrait of Austen in the National Portrait Gallery in London, drawn by her sister Cassandra, but it has been said that it was a poor likeness. Roud considered it while interpreting Austen for the square, but ultimately took his own path:
“That has been hovering in the back of my mind,” he said, “but really I’d have preferred if that painting hadn’t existed at all.”
“For the sculpture, I wanted a believable figure of a woman walking through the town square,” he explained, conceding: “No doubt I’ll be praised by some and criticized by others.”
True. And what would Austen say? Probably something that sounds like praise, but then later on you realize it was actually extremely cutting.