Mystery benefactor steps in after American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson secures memento at auctionAn anonymous donor has bestowed £100,000 to save a gold and topaz ring owned by Jane Austen from being shipped out of the UK by American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson, within days of Jane Austen’s House Museum starting a fundraising campaign to save the piece.Clarkson, an Austen fan who owns a first edition of Persuasion, the author’s last completed novel, paid £152,450 for the ring at auction house Sotheby’s last year. The museum has invited the singer to visit the collection in Hampshire – perhaps the closest she will get to the ring, if the campaign raises the remaining £49,250 – after others’ donations – that it needs to match Clarkson’s bid.One of only three pieces of Austen’s jewellery known to exist, the ring became the subject of a temporary export ban imposed by culture minister Ed Vaizey on 1 August, on grounds that it is “so closely connected with our history and national life that its departure would be a misfortune”.The identity of the ring’s saviour remains under wraps – for now – but adding together donations received at the museum, and through its website, since …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books