Sitting with Jane 2017


Enjoy a creative celebration of Jane Austen’s heritage in and around Basingstoke.

Sitting With Jane had a very happy ending as the BookBench auction raised nearly £100,000 on Friday 15 September, delivering a massive boost to the charity that is helping to fund a much-needed cancer treatment centre.

Thousands of people enjoyed visiting the Sitting With Jane public art BookBench trail in the summer of 2017 – and the popularity of the benches, which celebrated the life of local author Jane Austen, was reflected in a very successful auction.

Twenty-two BookBench lots were sold for a total of £95,750, leaving a lasting legacy that will help and support cancer patients and their families. Ark Cancer Centre Charity is raising £5million towards a unique local NHS cancer treatment centre that will be built in the Basingstoke area.

17 June – 31 August 2017

This year marks 200 years since the death of Jane Austen, one of the world’s most famous authors. The Sitting With Jane BookBench trail weaves its way across Basingstoke, Hampshire, and forms part of a series of exhibitions, talks, walks, and performances to celebrate Jane’s creativity, talent and roots in the county.

170616-swj-bbUse the Sitting With Jane app to track down all of the BookBenches.

Simply input the unique code on each BookBench plaque to collect them and unlock rewards.

Don’t forget to upload your photos to our gallery and share them on social media – just remember to use #SittingWithJane.

FREE on the App Store and on Google Play


Over 20 benches beautifully decorated by talented artists are on display in and around Basingstoke to enjoy. Discover them over the summer and at the same time learn more about the author and her connections to the area, people and the society, which provided inspiration for many of her novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Sense and Sensibility.

Special hotel deals and packages for your stay are available for Sitting With Jane visitors. Plan your days out with the help of this interactive map of the trail.
After the end of the trail the BookBenches will be auctioned on 15  September with proceeds to the Ark Cancer Centre Charity. Take a seat on a BookBench this summer and help raise valuable funds for Ark Cancer Centre Charity – you may even meet Mr. Darcy!

Farewell Weekend

Saturday 9 September
Sunday 10 September

All 24 BookBenches will be on display at Milestones  Museum in Basingstoke, where visitors to the museum will have chance to see all the unique, professionally painted BookBenches for one final time.



An exclusive auction on Friday 15 September of unique hand painted BookBenches to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of the death of Jane Austen.

Don’t forget that you can enjoy a free to enter preview of the BookBenches at Milestone Museum between 3.30pm and 4.30pm on Friday 8 September.  To gain free entry, please show your auction tickets.



Wild in Art and Destination Basingstoke, in association with Festival Place, are presenting Sitting With Jane to celebrate Jane Austen’s connections with Basingstoke and her birthplace, Steventon, as part of the 2017 global commemoration of the 200th anniversary of her death.

For more information, please visit www.sittingwithjane.com @sittingwithjane #sittingwithjane.

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