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Design of the Jane Austen £10 note to be out on her 200th death anniversary on July 18

The event will be held at the Winchester Cathedral in Hampshire, where Jane Austen was buried in 1817. The new polymer notes will come into circulation in the UK from September.

books Updated: Jun 29, 2017 12:53 IST
HT correspondent
HT correspondent
Jane Austen,Jane Austen £10 note,Winchester Cathedral
Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, holding the concept design for the new Bank of England £10 note featuring Jane Austen. (Getty Images)

To mark the 200th death anniversary of British novelist Jane Austen on July 18, 2017, the Bank of England is unveiling the design of the new plastic £10 note featuring the beloved writer.

The design of the new polymer notes will be officially launched at an event at the Winchester Cathedral in Winchester, Hampshire, where Austen was buried in 1817. The currency notes, however, will come into circulation in the UK in September. The notes will also carry the famous quote by the 18th century writer, “I declare there is no enjoyment like reading.”

The author’s portrait on the new currency note, however, has been criticised by some for being an inaccurate portrayal of what she really looked like. “It’s deeply ironic that the image chosen by the Bank of England isn’t really her... It’s an author publicity portrait after she died in which she’s been given the Georgian equivalent of an airbrushing,” historian Lucy Worsley has said.

(On left) The 1817 Jane Austen portrait by James Andrews, and the original sketch by Cassandra Austen on which the portrait was based. ( Sothby’s/ National Portrait Gallery/Wikimedia Commons )

The 1817 portrait depicts Austen, who was 41 when she died, with a plump face and sparkling eyes. It was made by James Andrews after her death. The original sketch by her sister Cassandra, which was the blueprint for the portrait, however, shows Austen with a gaunt face and bags under her eyes.

According to The Telegraph, more than 35,000 people had signed a petition that the new polymer £10 note feature a woman. Austen will be the only woman to feature on currency notes, besides of course the Queen of England, after the £5 notes featuring British social reformer and philanthropist Elizabeth Fry are taken out of circulation.

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First Published: Jun 29, 2017 12:53 IST