Jane Austen and the Bank of England

Well, this is everywhere so only posting this so everyone knows I am actually paying attention. The UK seems to be in the news an awful lot this week, and while I find this quite funny:


[from https://www.facebook.com/politicalhumor ]

I don’t agree! I am unashamedly an Anglophile of the highest order [my parents were born there], and I had Tea every day as soon as I got home from school and have never changed the habit, and so all this stuff is just sort of ingrained…

So very excited this week, both about the Royal Baby AND the £10 note to feature Jane Austen.

So first a hearty congratulations to all in the Royal Family about George Alexander Louis – after George Knightley I am assuming, and a fine model for any young man (not to mention his great-grandfather)…


[Image:  CBS News]


And then Jane takes front-row seat after several weeks of mind-boggling discussion and various petitions on who shall grace the next issue of the £10 note, a woman it was to be, and Jane Austen it is – we can assume the Bank of England was a tad nonplussed by all of Jane Austen fandom raving for her to be chosen…

Here are the details – though they will not be in circulation until 2017 – I do wonder if they are concerned that any such Austen covered notes appearing shall just as quickly disappear into people’s scrapbooks and they shall have to start all over again – I cannot even imagine SPENDING this money, can you??


[ Image: news.com.au ]

The portrait of Jane Austen, which will appear on the banknote, is adapted from a sketch drawn by her sister Cassandra Austen. Other features include:

• A quote from Pride and Prejudice – “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”

• An illustration of Elizabeth Bennet, one of the characters in Pride and Prejudice

• An image of Godmersham Park in Kent – the home of Jane Austen’s brother, Edward Austen Knight, and the inspiration for a number of novels

• A central background design of the author’s writing table which she used at home at Chawton Cottage in Hampshire

Fellow writers William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens have appeared on banknotes in recent times. Dickens was on the £10 note [Jane Austen shall be replacing Charles Darwin who is currently on the £10 note] and Shakespeare on the £20 note.

Bank of England notes can be spent throughout the UK. In addition, three banks in Scotland and four in Northern Ireland are authorised to issue banknotes.

On Twitter, Mr Osborne wrote: “[Incoming Bank of England governor] Mark Carney’s choice of Jane Austen as face of £10 note is great. After understandable row over lack of women, shows sense and sensibility.”

[Good to know someone knows their Austen…]

[Quoting from BBC News, where you can find a list of all the previous banknotes with famous faces…]


[Image:  CBS News]


UPDATE:  adding a few links here to other writings on the kerfuffle of Jane on the £10 note:

c2013 Jane Austen in Vermont

8 thoughts on “Jane Austen and the Bank of England

  1. My parents weren’t born there, but I am still an all-out anglophile (Britophile?) —

    Great about the bank note — I might spend some if they were in wide circulation, but certainly a few would be socked away for keeping! Too bad they won’t be available until 2017, I would like to have brought a few home with me in September.

    A friend of mine commented that they should have used a different quotation, though: “Money is the best recipe for happiness.” ;-)


    • Hello Arnie! – yes I read your post and agree on all counts! [isn’t it nice to be agreed with for a change?!] – I do hope they will reconsider some of their choices for the final note – they have 4 years to get it right for goodness sake… I like the choice for a quote that Tess mentions above:

      “Money is the best recipe for happiness.”

      which makes a whole lot more sense…!

      Thanks for stopping by,


      • Actually, the whole quote (spoken by Mary Crawford) is “I mean to be too rich to lament or to feel anything of the sort. A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of. It certainly may secure all the myrtle and turkey part of it.” That last part, taken out of context, is totally obscure, but what Mary means is that with enough money, a person will have all the luxury of a fine shrubbery (myrtle) and a fine dinner menu (turkey) as he or she wishes.

        It’s actually quite poetic (which is typical of Mary), and so, if the quotation included that last sentence, too, I’d g along with it! ;)

        But my primary vote is still for the darker irony and wonderful metaphorical simplicity of “I shall keep my TEN POUNDS too, to wrap myself up in next winter.”

        Did you see that the female independent journalist who started the campaign to get JA on the 10 pound note has been harassed by an army of misogynistic trolls on Twitter?

        No wonder Jane Austen coded her most feminist comments just beneath the surface of her writing, she’d have been subjected to the same sort of vicious personal attack if she had been truly open.

        Cheers, ARNIE


      • Yes, I have seen the kerfuffle around the journalist – one must expect such nonsense if they are going to go public with their passions!

        I like the Mary Crawford quote, but really one must see that the “reading” quote is most appropriate because she is an author and it is the reading of her works that is being advocated and celebrated here – it is still Austen’s words after all, despite coming from the mouth of the likes of Miss Bingley [who after all was just trying to impress Mr Darcy … perhaps HIS quote should be used: re: “the improvement of her mind by extensive reading”]

        but I do like your quote on the 10-pound note as well – perhaps you should undertake your own campaign?


      • This bank note is going to be the introduction to Jane Austen for a few million people, I want them to see images and words which reflect the REAL Jane Austen–if the quote I’m pushing were used, it would open a lot of eyes about who Jane Austen really was-the sharp wit and irony, about money most of all, which Auden so memorably captured in his poem.

        I just Tweeted Caroline Criado-Perez, hoping to get her interested–she’s in the best position to make things happen at this point, I think, and she started the ball rolling, I would love it if she agreed with me and took that part of it on….


  2. As important as the quote is, surely even more so is the choice of image – while controversy rages over both the Rice Portrait and the equally dubious candidate offered by Paula Byrne, what seems uncontroversial is that at least one of Jane’s relatives said that that the likeness used in the mock-up of the note didn’t actually resemble her. See our blog post, http://cambridgelibrarycollection.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/image-and-reality/ (written before the Byrne picture entered the picture, so to speak…)


    • Yes, I agree – the image is nothing like her really and we should not perpetrate that Victorian done-over image! – thanks for responding and linking to your article from 2010 – there is quite the kerfuffle over the various choices on the note [the image, the quote, the house, etc] and will be interesting to see if the final note will take some of the discussion and concern into account…

      Thank you for commenting – I do enjoy your blog! [I follow many of the Library blogs – so interesting to me as a bookseller and collector and a librarian by profession…]


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