A letter written by author Jane Austen to her favourite niece in which she mocks a contemporary writer has sold at auction for more than £162,000.
The document went under the hammer for the first time at Sotheby’s in London with a pre-sale estimate of £80,000 to £100,000.
Written in October 1812 shortly after the publication of Sense And Sensibility, Austen’s letter shows the author discussing a novel with her niece Anna Lefroy, the eldest daughter of Jane’s eldest brother, Rev James Austen.
In a satirical tone, Austen parodies the melodramatic writing in Lady Maclairn, the Victim Of Villainy, a Gothic novel by Rachel Hunter.
Sotheby’s described the letter as “a light-hearted jeu d’espirit which exudes not only Austen’s supreme intellect, but also her comic charm”.
The letter also provides an insight into Austen’s close relationship with her niece and the author’s thoughts about fiction, the auction house said.
The sale, which had a final price of £162,500, comes almost 200 years after the death of the celebrated novelist in July 1817.