Jane Austen still has quite a following, even nearly 200 years after her death, and the people of London want to hold on to anything she left behind in the hopes of keeping her spirit alive in the U.K. That’s why they’ve been holding onto a famous ring that once belonged to the “Pride And Prejudice” author, even though it was bought at auction by American pop star Kelly Clarkson.
Clarkson was the winning bidder at a Sotheby’s auction last year but was prevented from taking it home with her by a law that states that items with historical importance may be banned from export. Now, the museum in her former home in Chawton, England wants to buy it from the singer to keep on display and have until December to raise the money. No small feat, considering Clarkson reportedly paid about five times the original bidding price, making it £152,450.
“We are two-thirds of the way there in 48 hours, which is tremendous, but we’re not there yet,’’ said museum fundraiser Louise West, who sympathizes with Clarkson but says “the ring should stay in this country, because there is so little of Austen’s personal effects left.”
The funds have mostly come from an anonymous donor, but the museum still has a long way to go. Clarkson says she is willing to sell it back if they can match the amount she paid, however.
The ring, a turquoise stone set in a gold band, was given to Austen’s sister Cassandra after her death in 1817. It stayed in the family until it was put up for auction last year.