13 July 2016
[AUSTEN, Jane (1775-1817)]. Fob seal of Jane's cousin, John Thomas Austen (1794-1876). Carved hardstone seal within a textured and polished mount, 19th century.
The matrix carved with the initials “J T A” and the arms of the Kent branch of the Austen family: on a mural coronet or, a stag, ar. 25mm high.
John Thomas Austen was the only son of Major John Austen (d.1831) and Harriet Hussey (d.1811), and second cousin to the novelist, Jane. The two shared their great-grandparents, and they would almost certainly have known each other, most likely meeting at the home of Francis Austen (1698-1791) – grandfather to John Thomas, uncle and patron to Jane's father, George Austen (1731-1805): Jane often visited the Red House in Sevenoaks while calling upon her family in Kent, which included John Thomas and his parents, then living in Goudhurst. After a distinguished academic career at Cambridge, John Thomas took holy orders, taking up the position of rector first at Aldworth, Berkshire, then West Wickham, Kent, as well as being appointed an Honorary Canon of Canterbury Cathedral in 1873.
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