The novelist lived there, with her mother and sister, from 1809 until her death in 1817. She did a lot of writing and editing of her novels whilst living at Chawton and the house contains many items that Jane would have known; her jewellery, a rare example of her actual handwriting and clothing and even the table at which she is thought to have written.
Now less well-known than Jane were her brothers Francis and Charles, who were successful officers in the British Navy. Some of their possessions are on display in the museum, including a sword presented to Charles by Simón Bolivar the famous revolutionary.
Francis lived from 1774 to 1865 and, according to an information panel at the museum:
'from a boy was hard-working and resourceful, and as a man was known for keeping strict discipline on board ship... Both were known for their genuine decency, love of family and active Christian faith.'
Francis was also a keen woodturner, joiner and carver and is thought by many to have inspired the character of Captain Harville in the novel Persuasion, being a good example of Naval characters being treated very sympathetically in Austen's novels. The museum has a few items of woodcarving known or thought to have been made by Francis Austen and I thought it might be nice to show them here.
This toy chest was made by him for one of his children: