Museum at Home > A Doll and Games
The doll and the toys on display in the Writer’s Gallery have a strong association with Jane Austen and her family. Jane was born in 1775 and was the seventh of eight children, she grew up in a happy and close-knit family, and the careers and families of her brothers (two clergymen, two admirals, and one adopted by wealthy relations) are thought to inform her stories.
Jane visited Lyme Regis with her family on two known occasions and it seems that she grew to love the place, in her last novel Persuasion she wrote;
“the principal street almost hurrying into the water, the Walk to the Cobb, skirting round the pleasant little bay, which, in the season, is animated with bathing machines and company…are what the stranger’s eye will seek.”
One of Jane’s relatives reflects in his memoir, how her parents joined their children in board games, card games, puzzles, and charades and entertained neighbours and house guests. Both adults and children enjoyed dancing and when on their own they read aloud, often novels, to the circle before bedtime.
Play is thought to make a significant contribution to our physical, social, and cognitive development and is described as practice in ‘divergent thinking and problem solving’. So perhaps Jane will inspire you to search out your own toys and games and to play and be creative too.