Fascinating new evidence in the form of letters has come to light, and may unravel the true identity of this young woman..
In these letters, the portrait is referred to as that of Jane Austen. The artist is Ozias Humphry (http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Ozias_Humphry) and in his accounts of 1788, there is a bill for the portrait. He charged 13 Guinea’s. A vast amount at the time as a good maid only earnt £10 A YEAR!
Digital photographic analysis has revealed writing on the painting that appeared to show the novelist’s name, and also that of Humphry, as well as the date 1789.
This could finally prove that this is the actual face of Jane Austen, painted when she was a teenager of about 15.
It is now a matter of some urgency that this be proved, one way or another, whether this is a portrait of Jane Austen or not. Why, you may ask? Well, it has for some year had a license approved for it to be sold, even if the buyer is abroad. This would be a monumental loss to the UK.
Here is an article from The Guardian newspaper that brought attention to the issue again. There are several link in the article that are also interesting reads.