New £10 note gets cathedral unveil

Camille Francis
July 20, 2017

The new design, featuring author Jane Austen, was unveiled at Winchester Cathedral by Bank of England governor Mark Carney on 18 July, the 200 anniversary of Austen's death.

"Our banknotes serve as repositories of the country's collective memory, promoting awareness of the United Kingdom's glorious history and highlighting the contributions of its greatest citizens", Mr Carney said at the unveiling.

The new notes, made of polymer, will be entering circulation in September.

It's printed on polymer, just like the recently re-launched 5-pound note, which features Winston Churchill. The 19th-century novelist introduced satire and romance in the Victorian lifestyle in her milestone works such as Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. The note will be available to the public from September with the central bank printing a billion of the new notes for an initial run. At first glance, that reads as a perfectly appropriate inscription for this particular banknote, but alas, as The Guardian notes, the quote is actually attributed to Pride And Prejudice character Caroline Bingley, who didn't care for reading.

The new currency is not without controversy. It's an author publicity portrait painted after she died in which she's been given the Georgian equivalent of an airbrushing-she's been subtly 'improved.'"Portrait of Jane Austen dated 1810".

Wimbledon Guardian
England Unveils New 10-Pound Note Featuring Jane Austen

"This added strength means notes will remain in good condition for longer, with a life span at least 21/2 times that of paper notes", he said of the £10 bill, which will be the first in Britain to have a tactile feature to help the blind and partially sighted. "Austen's novels have a universal appeal and speak as powerfully today as they did when they were first published", he added.

The Bank of England said it had considered destroying, reprinting and delaying the issue of the new note in response to the backlash from vegetarians and vegans.

The image used on the note - an 1817 portrait commissioned after Austen's death - has been criticised by TV presenter and historian Lucy Worsley as being an "airbrushed" version of reality.

Those holding the current 10-pound note, which features Charles Darwin, have only until the spring 2018 before they are withdrawn.

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They may even be delayed pending a subsequent software update, as happened past year with Portrait Mode in iPhone 7. While November is still a reasonable release window, it is possible the device could be delayed into 2018.

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