Maybe someone should have checked first…
This week saw the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, with the Bank of England marking the occasion by unveiling her face on the new £10 note.
The new £5 note, made from polymer, was introduced in September 2016, with the new design replacing Elizabeth Fry’s face with a photo of Sir Winston Churchill.
It seemed only fitting therefore that the £10 note would get a revamp and sure enough it was announced in February that it would get a makeover and be circulated in the same durable polymer as the £5 note.
The new design was unveiled yesterday by Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, with the announcement taking place at Winchester Cathedral, the burial place of the iconic author.
The new note, which sees Jane Austen replace Charles Darwin, will be issued on 14th September this year, with £24 million’s worth already printed.
It’s unfortunate therefore that the public reaction hasn’t been entirely positive so far.
The controversy surrounds the quote that accompanies the picture of Austen, ‘I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading.’
While this is a lovely quote, and had Austen ever said it, it would have been a perfect fit, the words were never actually spoken by the author – instead it was a quote from one of her most renowned novels, Pride and Prejudice.
No it wasn’t Elizabeth Bennet who said it – it wasn’t even Jane or Mary – the quote was actually by Caroline Bingley – and to make matters worse it was said sarcastically. Of all of the Jane Austen quotes to choose from, people have found it a strange selection
When asked why he chose that exact quote, Mark Carney defended his decision, explaining, ‘It’s two things; it captures much of her spirit, that is the quote, you can read it straight, there is no enjoyment like reading, and we agree with that. If you know her work, you can enjoy the irony of that, it draws out some of the aspects of her social satire, it works on many levels.’