Is Jane Austen Too Airbrushed On The New Banknote?
THE Bank of England decided that they needed to get some women involved on our currency. The hooters and sneerers pointed out that The Queen was pretty ubiquitous on our money, but everyone else acknowledged that it was a bit of a sausagefest and that we’re lucky enough to have some incredible achievements from womenfolk and that should be celebrated.
And so, we ended up with Jane Austen, and no-one could argue with her outstanding contribution to the English language.
However, all is not well. An Austen biographer has criticised the Bank of England for selecting an “airbrushed” portrait of the author for its new £10 note. It seems even on money, people can’t help but give women a Heat makeover.
Dr Paula Byrne said the 1870 image was a “makeover” of an earlier portrait composed by the novelist’s sister Cassandra. She said that the image makes Austen look like “a pretty doll with big doe eyes”. She added: “It’s a 19th Century airbrushed makeover. It makes me quite angry as it’s been prettied up for the Victorian era when Jane Austen was very much a woman of Georgian character.”
“The costume is wrong and the image creates a myth Austen was a demure spinster and not a deep-thinking author.”
The Jane Austen Society aren’t having that though, saying: “There is only one authentic image available of Jane Austen and that is the pencil sketching by her sister that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. It’s an amateur portrait and, at the time, nobody particularly liked it.”
“But, Jane Austen’s fame and popularity grew after her death and an engraving of Cassandra’s portrait was produced by [William Home] Lizars to go inside her memoirs. The family chose it, feeling it was a strong resemblance and that is more or less the image which has been chosen.”
Should Dr Byrne shut her gob or does she have a point? Or, did the Bank of England not go far enough and they should’ve shown Austen all booby in a bikini sat on the bonnet of a Subaru? Or are you just waiting to get your hands on one of the notes so you can fold it up so her chin looks like an arse?
Either way, we probably won’t see the Austen £10 until 2017.