Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait?

In this one-off special Martha Kearney follows a British academic’s search to find out whether an unusual drawn portrait really does capture the face of the well-loved author.

Will the picture stand up to forensic analysis and scrutiny by art historians and Austen experts? And if it does, how might it change our perception of one of Britain’s most revered writers? Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait? follows the investigation behind one of the literary world’s most exciting art works.

Janice Hadlow, Controller, BBC Two:  “Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait? will sit at the heart of our Christmas schedule and will be a fascinating chance for the BBC Two
audience to delve deeper into the life of one of Britain’s best-loved authors.”

Jane Austen is one of the most celebrated writers of all time but with only a rough sketch by her sister we have just an inkling of what she may have looked like. Austen academic and biographer Dr Paula Byrne thinks that this may be about to change. She believes that she’s discovered a portrait of the author that has been lost for nearly two centuries and may offer fascinating new insight into how Jane once lived and portrayed herself to the world.

Martha follows Paula’s search to gather as much evidence as possible in her quest to prove that she really may hold one of the rarest literary portraits of all-time. From eighteenth century costume experts to the editor of Jane Austen’s letters, Paula must interrogate as many experts as possible to build a case for why this really might be Jane. After months of research, she presents the portrait to three of the world’s most prominent Austen experts. Will she be able to convince them that it really is as authentic as it seems?

1 x1 Hour for BBC2

Distributed by TVF International.

 

All in the Best Possible …

Grayson Perry Taste

Winner of the 2013 BAFTA Award for Specialist Factual. Grayson Perry, one of Britain’s leading artists and winner of the Turner Prize, has always been fascinated …

Read more →

Grayson Perry and the Tomb …

grayson

In October 2011, the artist Grayson Perry staged an exhibition at the British Museum. In a major departure for both artist and Museum, Grayson created a mysterious …

Read more →

Grayson Perry – Spare …

spare

Grayson Perry wants to find out whether we are getting the most, both as individuals and as a society, from our spare time. George Orwell celebrated the British …

Read more →
 

What is Beauty?

beauty

Artist and writer Matthew Collings returns to British television for a thoughtful and visually ravishing exploration of the subject of beauty in art. Collings chose …

Read more →

This is Civilisation

Civ

This landmark series sees artist and critic Matthew Collings embark on his most ambitious project to date. He fearlessly treads in the famous footsteps of the distinguished …

Read more →

The Perfect Home

AlainPerfectHome

The Perfect Home is a landmark documentary series on architecture and interior design. It starts off with the issues we all care about – what should the kitchen …

Read more →
 

The Art Of Travel

AlainHeathrow

This documentary about the pleasures and pitfalls of going on holiday is based on Alain de Botton’s best-selling book, The Art of Travel. The film is a witty, …

Read more →

Bedlam

bedlam

This drama-documentary, produced and directed by Joe Matthews, lifts the lid on the history of one of the world’s most notorious mental health institutions, …

Read more →

To Be Or Not To Be

tobe

What’s it like to play the great Shakespearean roles? This documentary film introduced a season of classic Shakespeare performances on More 4. To Be Or Not To …

Read more →
 

Rum, Sodomy and the Lash

sodom

What was it really like to serve in Nelson’s navy? Did it live up to Winston Churchill’s famous description: ‘rum, sodomy and the lash’? …

Read more →