Tea Cozies, Tote Bags and Colin Firth: The Thriving Jane Austen Souvenir Economy

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I’m not going to subject you to the umpteen millionth permutation of the opening line of Pride and Prejudice, so let’s just lay it out there: Holy shit, there are so many Jane Austen souvenirs.

That every gift shop comes equipped with several editions of each Jane Austen novel goes without saying. You’ve got your Penguin clothbound, your Penguin paperbacks, etc, etc. Bookends, bookmarks. Then there are the selected letters of Jane Austen, the companion works about manners in Austen and the Austen-related cookbooks. Plus the movies, the soundtracks, the books on tape, and the illustrated postcard retellings. All that goes without saying.

But anywhere you go even remotely related to Jane, as I’ve discovered in my week here in Austenland, there’s somebody waiting to sell you some Jane-related tchotchkes.

Coffee cups are very popular.

Available in the favorite novel of your choice, of course.

Ditto tea paraphernalia. There are the teapots and teacups, of course (including a “Pemberley” pattern).

There’s also special blends of tea.

And of course, knitted tea cozies emblazoned with Jane Austen quotes.

There’s jewelry.

You’ll want a tote bag to carry all this stuff around in.

A special shout out for this brand of gin trading on Jane’s face. Bonus points for working the title of one of her novels in there.

Just don’t get so tipsy you knock over your bust of Jane Austen.

The Jane Austen’s House Museum at Chawton has quite a collection of books for sale, including some rare and out-of-print editions. But they’ve also got special Jane Austen quill pins (and ink, too).

And coffee cups featuring that painting of Colin Firth in character as Mr. Darcy.

And wrapping paper featuring that painting of Colin Firth in character as Mr. Darcy.

And Colin Firth in character as Mr. Darcy paper dolls.

Look, it ain’t cheap keeping up a cottage that wasn’t exactly new when Jane herself took residence.

Winchester Cathedral, where Jane is buried, forbids photographs of their wares. But they have some of the highest-end offerings, including a bronze bust of the author (£145), a teapot made to look like a stack of Austen’s book (£32 for the small, £79 for the large), and jewelry inspired by Jane’s turquoise ring and Jane and Cassandra’s crosses (£49 and £55). And a faux stained-glass paperweight, of course.

But it’s the Jane Austen Centre in Bath that really takes the cake for sheer breadth. Not just thimbles, but Jane Austen cross-stitch sampler kit, as well.

In addition to your I <3 Mr. Darcy tote bag, which (it goes without saying) is available, you’ve also got something for your car. Or the Mr. Darcy lip balm. And, best of all, special branded nail files—with crystallized Swarovski elements. Obviously I’ve already bought a coffee cup, one book, a bookmark, various postcards, and some “Regency” gingerbread allegedly from a Shelley family recipe—and it’s only Tuesday.

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