The reading passage suggests that three pieces of evidence provide support that a portrait recently commissioned for sale by a member of Jane Austen’s family is of Jane Austen herself when she was a teenager. However, the lecturer rejects such evidence and argues that the painting could not be a portrait of Jane Austen.
First, the lecturer argues that the portrait was approved for publication by the Austen family 70 years after Jane Austen’s death, suggesting that members of her extended family might have published the portrait without having actually seen her in person. Therefore. the fact that the portrait had been endorsed by her family members does not necessarily prove that it is a portrait of Jane Austen.
Second, the lecturer argues that the resemblance between the portrait and an authentic sketch of the adult Jane Austen could be explained by the hypothesis that the portrait is of a relative of Jane Austen when the relative was a teenager.
Finally, the lecturer argues that despite the style of the painting, which links it to the exact period when Jane Austen was a teenager, the stamp on the back of the canvas suggests that the portrait was painted at least 27 years after Jane Austen’s birth, indicating that the portrait was of someone else who was much older than the teenage Jane Austen.