Sitting with Jane: The Royal Mint book bench

For 200 years, Jane Austen has delighted readers across the world with her Regency-era romances. Now we celebrate her life and works by featuring her portrait on a UK £2 coin, designed by Royal Mint graphic designer Dominique Evans. But, we are not alone in the celebrations, Jane Austen’s creativity and talent is being remembered across the country, from walks to talks, festivals to exhibitions and even a book bench trail!

Sitting With Jane is a unique public art trail honouring Jane Austen’s connections with Basingstoke and her birthplace, Steventon. The trail brought to us by Wild in Art and Destination Basingstoke combines local culture and history with a creative, modern interpretation for all to see – 24 ‘book benches’. Each bench has been designed and painted by a professional artist and features a personal interpretation of a Jane Austen theme, and, just like we have previously done with Shaun-Xiào and Gromit Unleashed, The Royal Mint has sponsored and designed their own book bench.

Picture by Stewart Turkington

The Royal Mint book bench is based on designer Dominique Evans’ sketchbook, capturing her initial ideas and concepts behind the Jane Austen £2, giving viewers (and sitters) unique insight into the research and thought processes behind the final coin design. Central to the Jane Austen £2 coin is a framed silhouette of Jane, situated on stripes as though on a Regency wall.

With the help of artists Fiona and Neil Osbourne at One Red Shoe, Dominique’s design has been brought to life and luckily for us they captured the journey…

So there you have it, The Royal Mint book bench – what do you think?! The trail itself begins Saturday 17 June in Basingstoke and will continue until September 2017, a map of the trail can be found here and there is even a Sitting with Jane app. Will you be taking part in the trail, can you find The Royal Mint book bench? We would love to hear from you if you do, share your pictures with us on Twitter and Instagram using @RoyalMintUK, #SittingWithJane and#LoveBasingstoke.

The Jane Austen £2 is available to buy now, in Brilliant Uncirculated, Silver Proof, Silver Proof Piedfort and Gold Proof – it will also be released into circulation later this year so be sure to look out for it on your #CoinHunt!


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