Jane Austen's gold ring comes home to north Hampshire after campaign raises enough money to buy it from US singer Kelly Clarkson (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Jane Austen's gold ring comes home to north Hampshire after campaign raises enough money to buy it from US singer Kelly Clarkson
A GOLD ring owned by author Jane Austen will go on display in north Hampshire after a campaign raised enough money to buy it from US singer Kelly Clarkson.
The £150,000 gold and turquoise ring was sold at auction to the 31-year-old America Idol winner in 2012 but earlier this year culture minister Ed Vaizey placed an export ban on the jewellery preventing Miss Clarkson taking it out of the UK.
Today the Jane Austen's House Museum announced its “Bring the Ring Home” fundraising appeal has raised enough to purchase the item and their offer to buy it has been accepted.
The campaign, which launched in August, was boosted by one anonymous donor who pledged £100,000 to the appeal.
Museum curator Mary Guyatt said: “The museum has been stunned by the generosity and light-footedness of all those who have supported our campaign to meet the costs of acquiring Jane Austen’s ring for our permanent collection.
“Visitors come from all around the world to see the house where she once lived and we will now take great pleasure in displaying this pretty ring for their appreciation."
Austen, whose face will appear on £10 notes from 2017, was born in Steventon, where her father was rector, before settling at Chawton, near Alton.
The ring is one of only three surviving pieces of jewellery known to have belonged to the Pride and Prejudice author.
After her death in 1817 it was given to to her sister Cassandra and remained in the family before it was sold.
Jane Austen’s House Museum was the home of Jane Austen for the last eight years of her life and is where she wrote and revised all of her six completed novels.
Miss Clarkson, a fan of Austen, purchased the ring at Sotherby’s for a reported £152,450 in July last year against a guide price of £30,000 and intended to use it as an engagement ring.
The Government, in a bid to keep the treasure in the country refused an export license which prevented it being taken out of the UK until September 30, by which a ‘serious expression of interest’ in buying the ring needs to have been submitted.
Mr Vaizey, who authorised the export ban said: “I’m delighted that Jane Austen’s House Museum has be has been successful in their campaign to “bring the ring home to Chawton”.
“The export licensing system provides us with a last chance to save treasures like these for the nation so they can be enjoyed by all of us.
“It’s clear from the number of people who gave generously to the campaign just how admired Jane Austen remains to this day.”
Miss Clarkson added that she was “happy” that the ring will be on public display.
She said: “The ring is a beautiful national treasure and I am happy to know that so many Jane Austen fans will get to see it at Jane Austen's House Museum.”
The ring will be put on public display in the New Year.
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