Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Jane Austen is on the Money

2017 promises to be an important year for Jane Austen fans.  Not only will we be commemorating the 200th year anniversary of her death, but the famous author's face will appear on the new £10 note. 

In doing so, she will be only the third woman in history to appear on banknotes in England.  The decision to put a woman's image on the new note came after a long period of campaigning and petitioning.  Currently, the only female figure represented on English notes, is the Queen. 

The design will include the familiar portrait, her writing table and quills, her wealthy brother's estate at Godmersham,  a quote from 'Pride and Prejudice' and an illustration of Elizabeth Bennet.  

It is a clear reminder, if one was needed, that Jane Austen remains at the forefront of women's issues, and as ever, shines a light, as she often did in her books, on the gender inequalities that exist in society, . 

Of course the irony is that money is often a central theme in Austen's novels, as many female characters feel the sorry lack of it.  In Austen's life too, she and her female relatives were reliant on their father and brother's financial support to get by.   
It is difficult to know how Jane Austen would have reacted to the prospect of having her image printed on a £10 note.  I suspect, she would have been delighted by the irony of it and might have preferred owning it, rather than being on it, if she had the choice.  

By Eileen and Michelle JASI