Friday, July 18, 2008

Illustration Friday - Enough

Digital collage based on my own version of the only portrait, from life, of Jane Austen that exists.

Today, 18th July 2008, it is exactly 191 years since the death of Jane Austen and I just happen to have been going through a Jane Austen season recently, hence this image.

Money and marriage are her themes. And how much money is enough is a common thread. Miss So-and-so with so many thousand pounds is a common way to describe an unmarried woman. The marriage market required money or breeding, preferably both.

I wanted to know just how much this was in today's terms. According to one source (, £10,000 then is the equivalent of over half a million pounds now. It would have been invested in government bonds that gave a steady income of 5% per year (sorry I've lost that source), so was the equivalent of an annual income of £25,000 now (or $50,000 in US dollars).

No wonder the wealthy Emma, with £30,000, could pick and choose and need not have married at all.

Most of the heroines are not so lucky and Jane Austen experiments with a mixture of bad luck financially and a variety of backgrounds setting herself the puzzle of how to get them from this position to some sort of happy ever after. And being a romantic at heart she was also determined that her favourites would at least like, if not fall madly in love, with their future husbands!

More than enough Enoughs at Illustration Friday.


Anonymous said...

HAHA these days I wish love was 'enough' :) Nice angle on the theme Caroline!

Anonymous said...

When I read the prompt earlier, I couldn't begin to think how to illustrate it. Yours is very clever though.
Great take on the prompt, Caroline!

andrea said...

Wow -- this is fascinating reading. Thanks, Caro. And looking at that portrait by her sister, Jane Austen was no Anne Hathaway, was she? (Meaning the actress who portrayed her in Becoming Jane) I was thinking that it's about time for a re-read of her work. I just saw The Jane Austen Book Club recently, a so-so movie.

Ellen said...

Caroline, this is a great post. I'm a Jane Austen fan, it's 200 yrs later yet her books are so readable today.

I've often wondered how the money equivalences in Jane Austen's world worked today. I'm also curious how it was ever obtained, in her books, men would ride off to London to take care of business, whatever that meant.

Lisa Oceandreamer Swifka said...

You have won my blogiversary giveaway....please email me your mailing address so it can be on it's way across the pond!!
A Whimsical Bohemian

Tony LaRocca said...

You only have too much money when no one else has enough to make the things you want to buy. Or until they string you up by your intestines. Whichever comes first.

Krimo said...

I wish I'd kept that penny that my great-grandad gave me!
In many societies, love is measured with the amount of cows in the dowry.
But with the increasing price of meat, I have a feeling that it might be sirloins or burgers very soon.

Sandra Evertson said...

Great post and collage!