Jane Austen Ring: Anonymous Donor Gives £100K
An anonymous donor has contributed £100,000 to a museum's campaign to keep a ring once owned by Jane Austen in Britain.
US Singer Kelly Clarkson bought the turquoise and gold ring at auction last year, but an export ban was placed on the item until September 30 to allow someone in Britain "to show a serious expression of interest to buy the ring".
The Jane Austen museum based in the Pride and Prejudice writer's home town in Chawton, Hampshire, launched an appeal to raise the £152,450 needed to buy the ring.
And fundraiser and former museum curator Louise West told Sky News she was delighted with how the campaign had started.
"We thought it would be a lot harder to reach the £100,000 mark, so it was an amazing surprise," she said.
"We do think the museum would be a very suitable home for the ring, but we do also feel sorry for Kelly Clarkson. We have attempted to contact her and would hope we can establish some sort of relationship with her in the future."
She added: "Kelly Clarkson should have been informed that this export ban was likely to happen. This is nothing against her at all - it could be anyone - and it does happen all the time, but we know that it is shame for her."
Ms West said the total raised since the appeal was launched now stood at £103,200, but that staff were confident they could reach the target.
Until it was sold, the ring had remained in the Austen family since the world famous author's death aged 41 in Winchester in 1817 from an unknown illness.
It passed first to her sister Cassandra, who then gave it to her sister-in-law Eleanor Austen on her engagement to their brother, the Reverend Henry Thomas Austen.
Jane Austen is shortly to be on the new £10 banknote following a campaign to have a woman on the currency - in the year that marks the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice's publication.