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        Jane Lewson, remarkable for her age and peculiarities, 1821

        Cooper, Robert (fl.1800-36). English. Medium: engraving. Date: 1821. Jane Lewson (1700?1816) is the most likely of several women to have furnished Charles Dickens with the model for his eccentric spinster Miss Havisham in the novel Great Expectations. Called 'Lady' Lewson by the few people with whom she stayed in contact, Jane lived in Clerkenwell and became eccentric after her widowhood at the age of twenty-six. Among her vagaries; wearing (until the end of her life) clothing fashionable at the time of her wedding, rarely washing, smearing her cheeks with pig fat, and occupying but one room of her large house. Printed for J. Robins & Co. Albion Press, London. Provenance: Private Collection.


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