Jane Austen's House Museum has launched a fundraising campaign to buy the ring. Image shared under Creative Commons licence by Flickr user iknow-uk

Private donor gives £100,000 to save Jane Austen ring

Geraldine Kendall, 14.08.2013
Campaign to keep rare artefact in UK
An anonymous donor has given £100,000 to Jane Austen's House Museum towards saving a ring owned by Jane Austen for the nation.

Ed Vaizey, the culture minister for England, placed a temporary export bar on the gold and turquoise ring to allow cultural institutions more time to raise the £152,450 needed to keep it in the UK.

The Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest recommended the bar, saying the object was closely connected with the UK’s “history and national life”.

The donation will allow Jane Austen's House Museum, which launched its fundraising campaign last week, to demonstrate a serious intention to buy the ring. That means the export bar can now be extended until 30 December.

The museum described the donation as “astonishing” and confirmed that it had so far raised £103,200 towards the purchase.

The rare artefact is one of only three pieces of jewellery known to have belonged to the author, and is accompanied by papers showing its provenance within the Austen family.

The ring caused a bidding war when it was auctioned at Sotheby’s last year and was eventually sold to the US singer Kelly Clarkson, who had intended to ship it to Texas.

Vaizey said: “Jane Austen’s modest lifestyle and her early death mean that objects associated with her of any kind are extremely rare, so I hope this simple but elegant ring can be saved for the nation.”

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