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Rediff News  All News  » Getahead » Jane Austen is the new face on England's 10-pound note

Jane Austen is the new face on England's 10-pound note

July 25, 2013 13:54 IST

Jane Austen is the new face on England's 10-pound note


The great chronicler of 18th century English country life will appear on the new 10-pound note.

  • Bank of England gives in to protests after it announced plans to replace Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill on the new five-pound note.
  • Significantly, the current face on the 10-pound note, Charles Darwin, the naturalist best known for his 'survival of the fittest' theory, will become extinct in the current British currency system.

Jane Austen will soon be the face of England's 10-pound note, literally. The great author in Britain's pantheon of writers and poets will feature on the new 10-pound note as Bank of England finally bows to the criticism that they had been ignoring women on their currency.

Mark Carney, who took over as the new governor earlier this month admitted in a statement that Austen certainly merited 'a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes'. "Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognised as one of the greatest writers in English literature," he said.

The controversy about women on currency note began when the bank announced earlier this year that it would replace Elizabeth Fry, the 19th-century social reformer with Prime Minister Winston Churchill on the five-pound note. It led to protests since it would leave no other woman on British currency notes besides Queen Elizabeth II. As protestors signed a petition and lawmakers urged for reflection, the outgoing governor, Mervyn King assured them, in one of his last public appearances that Austen was indeed in queue to appear on a currency note.

Jane Austen's novels that wonderfully portray the life in 18th century English country life is without a doubt one of Britain's best-loved authors. Her book Pride and Prejudice has been adapted several times over on stage, for television and the big screen.

P&P's best-known (and endearing) adaptation however continues to be the 1995 BBC miniseries starring the stunning Jennifer Ehle and the dashing Colin Firth. Firth was also recently immortalised with a 3.7m tall fibreglass sculpture depicting him in the famous scene of Darcy emerging from the water in a soaked white shirt in the same adaptation.

The year also marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice though the Austen note will not appear for at least a few more years; it is scheduled to be released within a year of the Churchill note targeted for a 2016 release.

Charles Darwin best known for his theory of 'the survival of the fittest' who features on the current 10-pound note will become extinct from the British currency system.

Image: The Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, poses for a photograph with the concept design for the new Bank of England ten pound banknote, featuring author Jane Austen, outside the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, southern England. British 19th century novelist Jane Austen will become the face of the new 10 pound note, the Bank of England said on Wednesday, defusing criticism that women are under-represented on the country's currency.
Photographs: Chris Ratcliffe/Reuters