Jane Austen’s House: December

Biscuit (cookie) flavour: Gingerbread

Decoration: Royal icing base. All designs painted by hand using gel food colourings and vodka.

Context: This biscuit set has two sources of inspiration: the ‘Six Winters’ exhibition currently on display at Jane Austen’s House, and the material culture of Jane Austen’s lifetime.

The design of the first biscuit (top left) is based on the printed cottons that were popular in Europe during the Georgian and Regency eras (particularly this 1783 example in The Met’s Collection). The buildings pictured in the biscuit design are Steventon Rectory (where Austen was born), St Nicholas Church in Chawton, and Chawton House. Painted onto the second biscuit (top centre) is an illustration for Mansfield Park by Hugh Thomson. The third biscuit features an extract from Austen’s handwritten music book.

The biscuit on the left side of the lower row is designed after an 1802 fashion plate. The blue pattern on the lower-central biscuit recalls Regency styles of ceramic tableware, and is based on this c.1800 plate in the Victoria & Albert Museum Collections. Finally, the design of the biscuit on the lower-right is inspired by the fashions of the London season, and comes from a fashion plate from the period.

These biscuits were created as part of the Jane Austen’s House Creatives in Residence programme.