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Jane Austen's new portrait unearthed

Austen scholar Dr Paula Byrne, who is currently writing a biography of the Pride and Prejudice author, has uncovered a 'new' portrait of the author.

books Updated: Dec 05, 2011 11:30 IST

Austen scholar Dr Paula Byrne, who is currently writing a biography of the Pride and Prejudice author, has uncovered a 'new' portrait of the author.

With a straight, long nose and wide eyes, the new portrait resembles the author's intelligent persona more accurately than the previous 'Victorian' paintings.

Byrne told BBC, "When Jane Austen was writing, she wrote her novels anonymously. People didn't really know who she was at all and even after her death, when her name appears in print for the first time, she's not at all popular."

The scholar added, "Two out of the three do believe that this could be Jane Austen and it presents a very professional woman writer at the height of her creative powers," reports BBC.

Byrne was given the portrait by her husband - renowned Shakespeare scholar Prof Jonathan Bate. But till date, the most famous portrait of the Austen remains the one made in 1810 by Cassandra Austen, the author's sister. The painting now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Few years back, Jane Austen faced the magic of airbrushing as the publishers thought that Austen's original portrait was too unattractive to be used for the book cover.