The Watsons
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The Watsons by Jane Austen18031805"The Watsons", written by the famous author of "Pride and Prejudice", Jane Austen, tells the story of a girl named Emma. Emma, the daughter of the widowed clergyman Mr Watson, is sent away from home to be educated by a wealthy aunt. When the aunt remarries, Emma is forced to return home to her father, two older brothers and three older sisters. Not having received the same fortunate upbringing, her siblings are less educated and refined than Emma, and two of the sisters soon reveal themselves to be reckless husband hunters. Emma finds comfort only in her eldest sister, Elizabeth, who is of a gentle and kind nature. The awkward Lord Osborne, from the noble Osborne family, whose house neighbours that of the Watsons, takes an interest in Emma. The novel was never finished but it appears that Jane Austen told her sister Cassandra that, eventually, Emma would refuse the offer of marriage of Lord Osborne and, instead, marry his virtuous former tutor, Mr Howard. https://austenonly.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/watsons621-correction.jpg
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Jane Austen18031805The manuscript, which Jane Austen started in 1803, was never finished. No one can say why it is that the story was never completed, but scholars speculate that it could have had something to do with her father's death, which occurred in 1805, or the fact that another of her manuscripts entitled "Susan" (which later became "Northanger Abbey"), despite having been successfully sold, remained unpublished. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/Jane_Austen_coloured_version.jpgBath51.386135,-2.351931
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Cassandra Austen18051845After Jane Austen's death in 1871, the manuscript of the "The Watsons" was entrusted to her loving sister Cassandra. Since they were children, the sisters had always been inseparable and, after the death of Jane, Cassandra arranged for others among her sister's novels, namely "Persuasion" and "Northanger Abbey", to be published. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/CassandraAustenSilhouette.pngWinchester51.133608,-0.98867551.386135,-2.351931
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Caroline Mary Craven Austen18451880Daughter of James Austen, Caroline was the niece of Jane and inherited the manuscript after Cassandra's death. It was Caroline's brother James Edward Austen Leigh who had the "The Watsons" published in 1871 as part of the book "Memoir of Jane Austen", which he wrote including fragments of Jane's unfinished works, such as "Sandition" and "Lady Susan". http://www.jausten.it/jamfjealmemoir.jpgBray51.508478,-0.70062051.133608,-0.988675
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William Austen Leigh18801915Nephew of Caroline Austen, William divided "The Watsons" into two parts and sold the first 6 leaves of the manuscript (a quire of two leaves and a quire of four leaves) at a charity sale for the Red Cross Society at Christie, Manson and Wood's auction house on 26th April 1915 to Lady Wernher (later Ludlow). The lot number for the folios was 1520 and were sold for the total sum of £65. The first folio still bears the two red stamps of the Red Cross Society and the Order of St John.http://images.cch.kcl.ac.uk/austen/liv/full/watsons_morgan/Watsons_1_crop.jpgLondon51.514351,-0.17199851.508478,-0.700620
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Lady Alice Wernher Ludlow19151924In 1924, while the folios were in possession of Lady Alice Ludlow, R. W. Chapman made the first and only close scholarly examination of the entire holograph manuscript.http://images.npg.org.uk/800_800/2/8/mw60328.jpgLuton51.862435,-0.39791951.514351,-0.171998
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J.C. Sawyer19251925J.C. Sawyer was a dealer in London who, having come to be in possession of the first part of the manuscript, tried to purchase the other larger part from its owners without success. In 1925 he decided to sell the first 6 folios of the manuscript, hoping to get £385. It was acquired by the Morgan Library in New York for £317.5. London51.522447,-0.12906451.862435,-0.397919
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Morgan Library in New York19262015The first part of the manuscript is to this day preserved and displayed at the Morgan Library. http://www.themorgan.org/sites/default/files/images/about/219-madison-arc1640.jpgNew York40.749898,-73.98144051.522447,-0.129064
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Lionel Arthur Austen Leigh 19271978The larger part of the manuscript was inherited by Lionel Arthur Austen Leigh and his three sisters. They were the nephew and nieces of William Austen Leigh. Despite being in their ownership, the document was kept on deposit in the British Museum. After having refused to sell it to Sawyer, the family decided to part with the manuscript in 1978, when it was sold at Sotheby's London auction house for £38,000 to the British Rail Pension Fund, a company that in 1974 had decided to heavily invest in art and it eventually devoted some £40 million to the venture, often advised by Sotheby's itself on worthwhile purchases. http://images.cch.kcl.ac.uk/austen/liv/full/watson_qm/PAGE1.jpgLondon51.519634,-0.12691451.514351,-0.171998
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British Rail Pension Fund19781988At another Sotheby's auction, the British Rail Pension Fund sold the manuscript to Sir Peter Michael of Queen Mary University for £90,000 in 1988.London51.526219, -0.10765451.519634,-0.126914
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Sir Peter Michael19882011After having been sold to Sir Peter Michael, engineer and founder of the famous radio channel "Classic FM", the manuscript was kept at Queen Mary University in London, where Sir Michael had been a student. It has been reported that while at Queen Mary, the first few folios of the manuscript were lost. To this day no one can account for the loss. London51.524247,-0.04039651.526219, -0.107654
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Bodleian Library Oxford20112015The larger part of the manuscript was again sold at Sotheby's London on 14th July 2011 to the Bodleian Library of Oxford with funds from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. The library purchased it for £850,000 despite the original valuation made by Sotheby's, which placed the document between £200,000 and £300,000. The manuscript is still there today.http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/28/2d/cd/282dcdd2187c21caf27aec65c623cab5.jpgOxford51.754206,-1.25408551.524247,-0.040396
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