A wealthy benefactor has stepped in after singer Kelly Clarkson won the ring at an auction last year.
Jane Austen's ring has become the subject of a transatlantic tussle over ownership after it was sold to US singer Kelly Clarkson for £152,450 ($235.3K) at a Sotheby's auction last year. Rather than receive the exquisite gold and topaz ring after she bought it, Clarkson has been told she can go and see it in a collection in Hampshire.
Kelly Clarkson Won Jane Austen's Ring At Auction.
For many, the news surrounding Clarkson's pricey purchase was the first they had heard of the ring, said to be one of three pieces of known Austen jewellery. However, Tory culture minister Ed Vaizey initiated a temporary export ban on 1st August preventing the ring being taken out of the country on the grounds that it is "so closely connected with our history and national life that its departure would be a misfortune."
Clarkson May Never Receive The Ring She Paid For.
It is not known who the original owners of the ring were, or why they wanted to sell it, but the Jane Austen's House Museum reportedly contacted the owners when it announced the jewel would be sold at auction with a reserve price of £30,000 ($46.3K). Louise West, the museum's manager, told of how they may have been able to secure the ring at auction with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund but didn't have time to "raise the cash at such short notice."
Kelly, Who Has Sold Over 20 Million Records, Is A Big Jane Austen Fan.
Despite forking out a hefty sum for the ring, it's unlikely that Clarkson would have damaged or even worn the piece as it has emerged she's quite the Austen fan. The 31 year-old, who rose to fame on American Idol, is said to own a first edition copy of Persuasion; the author's final novel.
The Jane Austen's House Museum launched a kickstarter-style campaign to raise funds to keep the ring in England. Within just a few days, an anonymous donor had given £100,000 ($154K) to the cause which, added to the other donations received by the museum, amount to £103,200 ($159.4K) towards the target to match Clarkson's bid and it is now said the museum can make a "serious expression" of its intentions to keep the piece, according to The Guardian. As a result, the ring's export ban has been extended to 30th December.
The Jane Austen's House Museum Are Busily Raising Funds To Stop Kelly Taking The Ring From The UK.
However, West has praised Clarkson for her advocacy of Austen: "We were very excited that someone like Kelly Clarkson was a fan of Jane Austen - it's not what you'd expect from a young, cool US pop singer. It says a lot about Austen's popularity and who she's popular with. It's not just middle-aged women." If the ring stays in the UK it will likely be displayed next year as part of exhibitions celebrating the bicentenary of Austen novel Mansfield Park's publication.