Sitting With Jane was a unique public art trail to celebrate Jane Austen’s connections with Basingstoke and her birthplace, Steventon, and forms part of a global commemoration of her life in 2017, the 200th anniversary of her death.

The trail has now finished and the BookBenches were sold in aid of our partner charity in September 2017. However, you can now buy a limited edition souvenir book  celebrating the trail with pictures of all of the BookBenches – all proceeds to the Ark Cancer Centre Charity.

Jane Austen is one of the most famous novelists in the world and anything with a link to her life attracts huge interest.

Jane Austen was born in Steventon, just a few miles from Basingstoke, and she lived there for more than half her life. The places, people and landscapes of the area had an enormous influence on her novels and she drafted Pride and Prejudice whilst living in Steventon. Basingstoke was where she went to shop – and to dance. This local heritage is not well-known, Sitting With Jane is about to change this.

Sitting With Jane combines the celebration of local culture and history with a creative, modern interpretation that will appeal to all. It will attract wide media attention both on and off line, making Basingstoke the unlikely unsung hero in her life story.

What is Sitting With Jane?

Sitting with Jane was a public art trail made up of 24 ‘BookBenches’ in and around Basingstoke, each uniquely designed and painted by a professional artist with their personal interpretation of a Jane Austen theme. The trail linked together locations – all with free public access and was in place in summer 2017. It was accompanied by a free to download app and a trail guide.

The BookBenches were auctioned in aid of our charity partner, Ark Cancer Centre Charity, to leave a valuable lasting legacy in the region.

Sitting With Jane is part of the Hampshire Cultural Trust’s celebration of Jane Austen’s life in Hampshire. Find out about other activities and events in the area.



Creativity in Festival Place

Eight Artists Hard at Work for Sitting With Jane Over the last few weeks eight artists ....

Artists Announced for Sitting With Jane

Twenty-one Artists’ Designs Commissioned for the Sitting With Project After consultatio....

Big Money Links for Jane Austen Project

The Royal Mint and De La Rue to support ‘Sitting With Jane’ in Basingstoke Destinat....