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Who we are


Ester Davies

For the past twenty years I have travelled between my native Australia, south-east Asia and England, working as a food and nutrition consultant and writing articles for newspapers and magazines. One chance meeting on an Isle of Wight ferry led to many years of live ‘on air’ cooking programmes and talk back on BBC and commercial radio. Although, television has always been my passion. In 1996 I became a regular presenter on the revamped House party programme and presented a Channel 5 morning show for several years. The Jane Austen Detectives is a project I want to share with the world because Jane Austen has been a part of my life since childhood.


  • Favourite Jane Austen book: Persuasion
  • Specialism: Jane Austen cooking methods, nutrition, the culture of food

I enjoy writing books; A Basic Encyclopaedia of Food, aimed at Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum, has been widely received in British and South African schools and has been translated and used in Thai schools. My more recent book, The Student Cookbook: Healthy Eating -The Essential Guide has been popular amongst university students who really don’t have a clue about basic nutrition and cooking.

I have trained Michelin-star chefs, supported prisoners and read Jane Austen my whole life. I am a member of the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists, a fellow of Institute of Consumer Sciences and a founder member of the Home Economics Institute of Australia.



Gwynneth Ashby

“Follow the Jane Austen Detectives on their mission to reveal the food, locations and alternative medicines lurking behind the lives of world famous female author Jane Austen.”


  • Favourite Jane Austen book : Emma
  • Specialism: Jane Austen medicine, locations, Georgian society

I’ve always had an enthusiasm for travel, having taught in the UK, the Fiji Islands and North Queensland with Aboriginal children. I’ve also done a stint in educational publishing before going freelance. My other love is mountain walking, which I was able to indulge through book commissions on Norway, Sweden and Austria, although I reverted to a bicycle for a book on Belgium. The Far East drew me like gravity though; to write Korean Village, I lived in a remote village in central Korea, and for four books on Japan I travelled with boots and rucksack from north to south of the islands, using youth hostels and local transport, living for short periods in Kyushu, where my last two books are based. Now, I want to share my in-depth knowledge of Jane Austen.

My latest non-fiction book – as yet no publisher – is a 1950′s account of my travels in outback Australia: crossing the pot-holed Nullarbor Plain, enduring suffocating heat, dust and thirst; hitchhiking in a strange variety of vehicles from Sydney to Cairns; living with and teaching Aboriginal children on a remote settlement on the Cape York Peninsula Reserve, and finally travelling to Thursday Island up the west coast of Cape York in an old pearling lugger.

I’ve written magazine travel features, children’s television plays and geography scripts for BBC Radio for Schools. I’m a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of the Society of Authors and the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.




Tobie Bousfield

After completing her degree, and achieving First Class honours, Tobie worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company after the RSC’s theatre designer saw Tobie’s work at her degree show. She began to produce printed fabrics for costumes and worked with the theatre designer in creating costume fabrics for other projects such as TV commercials. She also hand printed fabrics for interior design projects. Along with a friend, she founded ‘The London Cloth Company’. She worked with interior designers and private clients, producing fabrics for interiors and hand painting murals. Tobie won a competition judged by legendary designer Jean Muir for Best Textile Piece, winning the opportunity to exhibit at Surtex in New York and Paritex in Paris.


Having been an English teacher in London for many years, Tobie Bousfield left city life to return to her country roots in Hampshire, England. In 2008, she took a Masters degree in painting and printed textile design. Her love of literature inspired textile designs and paintings based on the novels of Thomas Hardy. Fusing her two passions, she later took a position teaching Art and Creative Writing in Winchester prison.


Tobie still produces her own work and, after returning to Jane Austen country where she was brought up, she decided to extend her work from Thomas Hardy to Jane Austen. Jane Austen enthusiasts will recognise where the inspirations for her work come from: her initial collection has been drawn from Jane’s belongings displayed Chawton Cottage. Tobie’s work draws particularly on the quilt made by Jane herself, the silk embroideries and Jane’s correspondence with her sister Cassandra.



Richard Jarvis

Richard is an illustrator from Upper Farringdon, Hampshire. After completing a foundation diploma at nearby Alton college, he went on to study a degree in illustration at The Arts University Bournemouth. It was here that Richard developed his already fond appreciation for abstract collage, reshaping his approach into a more refined way of working. His practise has evolved to become a contemporary blend of found imagery and expressive marks that aspires to challenge perception.


Following his graduation from The AUB in 2014, Richard now works as a graphic designer in Chertsey but continues his more expressive, colourful illustration work alongside. Richard offers a fresh and innovative take on illustrations inspired by Austen’s work, fusing bold colours and graphic shapes along with iconic images inspired by the texts.

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