News and press releases

  • Royal Mail
    21 February 2013
    Timeless Jane Austen works become the pride of Royal Mail
  •  A set of Royal Mail Special Stamps is issued today to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice. All six published Jane Austen novels are featured on the stamps; they depict original, newly commissioned artwork
  • In addition, for a week, mail posted in the village of Chawton - where the author spent her last years - and the village of Steventon, near Basingstoke, where she was born, will be marked with a special postmark to celebrate the connection. The postmark will feature the quote: “Do anything rather than marry without affection”, taken from Pride and Prejudice.
  • Illustrations from Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility adorn two 1st Class stamps. Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion make up the six-stamp set
  • Jane Austen was born in Hampshire in 1775 and died at the age of 41 in 1817 in Winchester. In 2007 a BBC poll for World Book Day voted Pride and Prejudice as the book most respondents could not live without
  • The Jane Austen stamps will be available in Post Offices from 21 February, online at www.royalmail.com/janeausten and by phone on 08457 641 641

Royal Mail is today issuing a set of six stamps celebrating the timeless work of Jane Austen. The stamps will mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of her most famous novel, Pride and Prejudice.

The six-stamp set commemorates the work of one of Britain’s most celebrated authors. Each stamp is dedicated to one of her six published novels, depicting key scenes in specially commissioned artwork by illustrator Angela Barrett.

P.D James, the author, and Austen fan, has written the stamps presentation pack, providing her perspective of Austen’s life and works, focusing specifically on Pride and Prejudice in celebration of the bicentenary of its publication.

The two 1st Class stamps in the set are Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Mansfield Park and Emma are both commemorated on 77p stamps and completing the set are Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, both of which appear on £1.28 stamps.

For 200 years people across the world have enjoyed the work of Jane Austen. Her six novels have inspired countless adaptations and reinterpretations. Pride and Prejudice itself has sold in excess of 20 million copies worldwide, spawning many film, theatre and television adaptations.

Austen spent the last eight years of her life at a 17th century house in Chawton, Hampshire, which is now open to the public as Jane Austen’s House Museum. These ‘Chawton years’ were Austen’s most productive. During her time there she revised and published both Sense and Sensibility (1811) and Pride and Prejudice (1813), and wrote both Emma (1815) and Persuasion (1816). Both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey were published posthumously after Austen’s death.

Andrew Hammond, Royal Mail Stamps spokesperson, said: “When you think of great British authors, Jane Austen inevitably comes to mind. Her novels have contributed immeasurably to British culture over the last two centuries. New generations continue to fall in love with her work through television and film adaptations, as well as, of course, the books themselves. It is therefore an honour for Royal Mail to commemorate her work with this special set of stamps and fitting that it falls during the 200th anniversary celebrations of Pride and Prejudice, her most famous masterpiece.”

For a period of one week, mail posted in Chawton, as well as Austen’s birthplace of Steventon, will be marked with a special postmark featuring the quote: “Do anything rather than marry without affection”, taken from Pride and Prejudice.

For further information contact:
Natasha Ayivor
Royal Mail Press Office
100 Victoria Embankment
London EC4Y 0HQ
Tel: 07436 280002
Email: natasha.ayivor@royalmail.com
www.royalmail.com/stamps

NOTES TO EDITORS
Stamps and stamp products are available at most Post Office branches, online at www.royalmail.com/janeausten and from Royal Mail Tallents House (tel. 08457 641 641), 21 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB.

SOME FACTS ABOUT JANE AUSTEN
Austen was the seventh of eight children, the daughter of George and Cassandra Leigh Austen. She was born in Steventon, Hampshire, in 1775.

Austen wrote six novels in her lifetime, but was also writing a seventh, The Watsons, at the time of her father’s death in 1805. She would never finish it.

Austen died in 1817 at the age of 41 from an undiagnosed illness. She is buried in Winchester Cathedral.

PD James’s novel Death Comes to Pemberley reimagines the characters from Pride and Prejudice in a murder mystery.

In 2007 a BBC poll for World Book Day voted Pride and Prejudice as the book most respondents could not live without.

Stamp by Stamp - in brief

Value

 

Description

1st - First class inland letter rate

Sense and Sensibility

1st - First class inland letter rate

Pride and Prejudice

77p – Europe up to 20gm

MansfieldPark

77p – Europe up to 20gm

Emma

£1.28 – Rest of World Airmail up to 20gm

Northanger Abbey

£1.28– Rest of World Airmail up to 20gm

Persuasion

 

1st Class – Sense and Sensibility, 1811
Sense and Sensibility follows the life and loves of two sisters of opposing temperaments, Elinor and Marianne, as they experience love, romance and heartbreak. Elinor, practical and conventional, is the epitome of sense, while her sister Marianne, emotional and sentimental, the embodiment of sensibility.

1st Class – Pride and Prejudice, 1813
Published 200 years ago in 1813, Pride and Prejudice follows the adventures of Elizabeth Bennett, one of literature’s great heroines, as she works her way through an ultimately rewarding romance with the proud Mr Darcy.

77p – Mansfield Park, 1814
Fanny Price is the poverty-stricken cousin of the wealthy Bertrams, resident at the eponymous idyllic estate. Fanny is taken in by the Bertrams and the novel tells the story of her love for Bertram, the second son of the family, as Fanny battles with her surroundings and the world she finds herself inhabiting.

77p – Emma, 1815
Twenty-one-year-old Emma Woodhouse is the protagonist, and the novel follows her moves as a matchmaker of questionable success throughout the village of Highbury, before she is knocked off her stride by the perceptive Mr Knightley. A strong cast of secondary characters includes Harriet Smith, who becomes the victim of one of Emma’s unsuccessful matchmaking schemes.

£1.28 – Northanger Abbey, 1817
The novel follows the romance of Catherine Morland and Henry Tinley, as they court and dance their way around the imposing Gothic home in which Henry resides. Northanger Abbey stands apart from Austen’s other works in terms of style thanks to its sending up of elements such as murder, haunted houses, mysterious letters and general melodrama; popular literary devices at the time of writing.

£1.28 – Persuasion, 1817
After a failed engagement some years earlier to naval officer Captain Wentworth while in her teens, Anne Elliot is in many people’s eyes now too old to be married and still living with her family – including her snobbish father, Sir Walter Elliot. However, after meeting with Captain Wentworth after eight years apart, it is clear that they are not only now suited in terms of his standing, but that they are also still very much in love.