Jane Austen to be honoured on British banknotes
Pride and Prejudice author just 3rd female historical figure so honoured
Beloved novelist Jane Austen will be the latest British figure to be honoured on British banknotes, the Bank of England has announced.
Austen, author of classics like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma, will replace biologist Charles Darwin on the £10 note. The switch is expected to debut between 2016 and 2017.
"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 recognized as one of the greatest writers in English literature," Canadian-born Bank of England governor Mark Carney said in a statement.
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"As Austen joins Adam Smith, Boulton and Watt, and in future, [Sir Winston] Churchill, our notes will celebrate a diverse range of individuals who have contributed in a wide range of fields."
Carney unveiled the proposed design at the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, in southern England, today.
The design will be based on a 1870 portrait of Austen and include the Pride and Prejudice quote "I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!"
It will also feature images of Pride and Prejudice heroine Elizabeth Bennet, her brother's estate Godmersham Park (believed to have been an inspiration for her novels) and Austen's 12-sided writing table.
Born from controversy
Austen will likely be a popular choice: she remains one of the world's best-loved authors, her novels continue to be read as well as adapted into new stories, films and other art forms and 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the release of Pride and Prejudice.
In April, the Bank of England announced that former prime minister Churchill would appear on £5 notes beginning in 2016. Critics protested that the change meant there would be a lack of female representation on British banknotes since the forthcoming Churchill note would replace the current one depicting social reformer Elizabeth Fry.
Carney subsequently announced it would review its approach to choosing figures to appear, so as to better reflect diversity.
Like other countries, England changes the designs of its banknotes periodically to combat counterfeiting. Though the sovereign is typically featured on one side, historical figures have appeared on the reverse since the 1970s.
Aside from the Queen, Austen will be just the third woman to be featured on modern British banknotes, joining Fry and nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.