Tag Archives: Sir Joshua Reynolds

What Jane Saw – a digital retrospective

Created by Professor Janine Barchas and her team at the University of Texas at Austin, this is an example of a simple but effective digital humanities project that provides a recreation of a museum exhibition that Jane Austen visited during May 1813. View an article here that describes the process of creating this digital project.


On 24 May 1813, Jane Austen visited an important and much-talked-about art exhibit at the British Institution in Pall Mall, London. The show was a retrospective of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), England’s celebrated portrait painter.

No visual record of this show is known to have survived, although it attracted hundreds of daily visitors during its much-publicized three-month run. However, many details of the exhibit can be reconstructed from the original 1813 “Catalogue of Pictures,” a one-shilling pamphlet purchased by visitors as a guide through the three large rooms where hung 141 paintings by Reynolds. Armed with surviving copies of this pamphlet, narrative accounts in nineteenth-century newspapers and books, and precise architectural measurements of the British Institution’s exhibit space, this website reconstructs the Reynolds show as Jane Austen (as well as any Jane Doe) saw it.


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Filed under Digital Collections, Digital Humanities