Molly Shanahan | Contributing Writer | Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Jane Austen Has Had An Unwelcome Makeover For The New £10 Note

Jane Austen Has Had An Unwelcome Makeover On The New £10 Note

The Debrief: The author has a noticeably softer look on the new notes...

It took months of campaigning and a petition signed by 35,000 people but back in July 2013 it was confirmed that Jane Austen was to replace Charles Darwin as the new face of the £10 note. Topping off the drama surrounding the fight to put the Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Mansfield Park author on the notes back then, there is now uproar about the newly unveiled design. 

The portrait of Austen featured on our new tenners is based on the only surviving contemporary painting of her and is adapted from a sketch by her sister Cassandra, however many have been left confused about her apparent makeover on the notes. 

There’s no denying the difference between the two images. In a nod to the filtered perfection we're used to in 2017, Austen has had her dark circles airbrushed and, it seems, her face has been slightly slimmed down and her complexion overall 'beautified'. Surely this begs the question: would this have been done to a male counterpart? Austen is one of the most celebrated British authors, who was never afraid to stand out from the crowd, critiquing social conventions and satirising norms, so there was really no need for this Bank of England makeover. 

Austen is the only woman, aside from the Queen, featured since the new £5 note saw the face of Elizabeth Fry go out of circulation. 

The note will also include a quote from Pride and Prejudice, 'I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!' and an image of Godmersham Park in Kent, the inspiration for much of her work. It will be formally unveiled on the 18th of July, on the 200th anniversary of her death. The Bank of England haven’t yet commented on the flawless new Austen but as they started printing the controversial notes last October, it looks like whether we like it or not, this Austen-ish portrait is here to stay.  

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Tags: books, Feminism