“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” When Jane Austen wrote this now famous opening line to Pride and Prejudice, I don’t think she ever thought her face would one day grace a bank note. However, the announcement made by The Governor of The Bank of England, Mark Carner, changed all that today.
He announced at the Jane Austen Museum House in Bath, England that Ms. Austen will be replacing Charles Darwin on the back of a £10 note from 2017. The announcement means that there will still be a female face on both sides of one bank note when Elizabeth Fry is removed from a £5 note in 2016.
Mr. Carner said of Ms Austen: “Jane Austen certainly merits 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.
"As Austen joins Adam Smith, Boulton and Watt, and in future, Churchill, our notes will celebrate a diverse range of individuals who have contributed in a wide range of fields."
Ms. Austen who was born in 1775 and died 1817, wrote six novels all of which are described as classic novels and have all been adapted into a number of TV series and movies.
The details of the new bank note were also released. They include:
- The quote “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” from Pride and Prejudice (Miss Bingley, Chapter XI).
- A Portrait of Jane Austen commissioned by James Edward Austen Leigh (Jane Austen’s nephew) in 1870, adapted from an original sketch of Jane Austen drawn by her sister, Cassandra Austen.
- An illustration of Miss Elizabeth Bennet undertaking “The examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her” - from a drawing by Isabel Bishop (1902-1988).
- The image of Godmersham Park. Godmersham was home of Edward Austen Knight, Jane Austen’s brother. Jane Austen visited the house often, and it is believed that it was the inspiration for a number of her novels.
- Jane Austen’s writing table - the central design in the background is inspired by the 12 sided writing table, and writing quills, used by Jane Austen at Chawton Cottage.
As a lifelong fan of Jane Austen and all her novels, although Mr. Darcy will always hold a special place in my heart, I can’t wait for the first £10 with her face on it.