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Not all that glitters is gold

Jane Austen to Appear on British Currency

The Bank of England announced today that Jane Austen will be replacing Charles Darwin on the £10 note, making her the third woman to ever appear on British currency (other than a member of the royal family, naturally), behind Florence Nightingale and Elizabeth Fry. She’s also the third artist (unless Wikipedia is steering me wrong), behind composer Edward Elgar and the Bard himself. This comes after protests that with the replacement of Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill, the only woman depicted on British banknotes would be the Queen. The bill also includes a quote from Pride and Prejudice, but I can imagine that it was difficult to resist making it “money is the best recipe for happiness.”

(via Digital Spy.)

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  • Anonymous

    Meanwhile, American currency continues to used only white guys who include slave owners and Andrew Jackson, one of America’s biggest presidential dicks.

  • Anonymous

    “the only woman depicted on British banknotes would be the Queen.” Think about it…think about it.

  • Anonymous

    This was only in response to a concerted campaign which began after it was revealed that the only woman currently on a note is to be replaced by a(nother) man. The old & new governers of the Bank of England were challenged as to the fairness of the decision making behind choice of these national symbols that ignore anyone except white dudes. The campaign had plenty of suggestions for notable (ha) women in history, inc WOC, & a rather good protest outside the bank that basically was historical British women cosplay. No taxation without representation? Yeah right.

  • Shard Aerliss

    Okay, I’ve watched the video and I still don’t understand why she was chosen.

  • Adam Cross

    think about what…?

  • Shard Aerliss

    You’re going to have to be less cryptic…

  • Anonymous

    It would be like if Obama was the only African American in the Executive Branch of the government. …only the president…THE PRESIDENT.

  • Canisa

    Because she’s a conventional white woman who behaved herself and played by the rules.

  • Cerberus

    Another women added to the currency? That is a step forward. The woman that they are adding is Jane Austen? That is a step back IMHO. Don’t want to offend Austen fans, but the only women prior to her was a queen. It feels sort of…I want to say spiteful but it feels more clueless.

    Like a bunch of dudes were sitting around a table….

    Dude one: They are forcing us to add another woman.

    Dude two: Sigh fine. What do women like?

    Dude one: Jane Austen?

    Dude two: Yeah! That’s the ticket. She is famous but not in a way that makes us feel threatened.

  • Allison Hoekwater

    I am thrilled that she has been chosen. I will be trying my best to get my hands on one once they are released. I also love the quote.

  • Shard Aerliss

    FTR; she’s not the only woman who has been on Bank of England notes, just the only one on notes currently being produced. Florence Nightingale, she of the lamp, and Elizabeth Fry, a social reformer, have been on notes that are still in circulation (I think Nightingale’s is still in circulation, I live in Scotland so don’t get to see many English notes)

    Everything else; yeah, spot on.

  • Shard Aerliss


  • Shard Aerliss

    Two things;

    1) is he the only African American in the Executive Branch of government? I am British, I don’t know these things.

    2) The Queen is on all bank notes by default because she is the monarch. The fact that the UK (and all other countries she resides over) have a female monarch is pretty much down to chance. No one had a say in it.

    Well okay, three things;

    3) Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t have anywhere near the power that Obama is supposed to have.

  • Mina

    I have never understood why Jackson is on money and so many more worthy candidates aren’t.

  • Mina

    Well I don’t know if I would say that exactly. She never married and she was a professional author. Neither of those things were “playing by the rules” at that time.

  • baxiwolecexo

    мy coυѕιɴ ιѕ мαĸιɴɢ $51/нoυr oɴlιɴe. υɴeмployed ғor α coυple oғ yeαrѕ αɴd prevιoυѕ yeαr ѕнe ɢoт α $1З619cнecĸ wιтн oɴlιɴe joв ғor α coυple oғ dαyѕ. ѕee мore αт…­ ­ViewMore——————————————&#46qr&#46net/kkEj

    I am thrilled that she has been
    chosen. I will be trying my best to get my hands on one once they are
    released. I also love the quote.

  • Ashe

    god bless america

    land of the free

  • Anonymous

    On the one hand, yay they’ve added another woman. On the other hand…aw man, they ditched Darwin. How many scientists are on currency? Couldn’t they just have replaced Churchill again?

  • Georgette

    This year marks the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice too. As a huge Janeite, I am so happy about this!

  • Georgette

    I also wanted to add (especially after reading the comments) that I can understand why she would be seen as a safe choice, but I genuinely love that she was chosen.

    She contributed so much to English literature and the formation of the novel. She was revolutionary during a time where marriage was the main business for women, having turned her own proposal down. I saw her heroines as strong women, who took their circumstances with a critical eye, looking within themselves in how to approach the situation. Emma has the most forward thinking mindset of all, declaring that she didn’t even need a man or marriage. Elizabeth Bennet threw caution to the wind when she turned down marriage proposals because she didn’t love or respect that person. Catherine Moreland was a novice to the world but continued to stand up for her own tastes when she was berated for it.

    So I strongly say that she wasn’t a safe choice. Janeites today are seen as this frivolous group, especially since that silly wet shirted Darcy, and it’s just sad how watered down people see her now, when she stood for much more than just romance. She encouraged women to make decisions with logic and self-guidance.

  • Cerberus

    I guess this means in fifty years J.K. Rowling will be on a bill.

  • Shard Aerliss

    They weren’t totally unheard of though. “Spinster” has been used in common parlance since the early 1700s. There were also a number of widely read (and some even critically acclaimed and famous in their own time) female authors, poets and playwrights before Austen. Some of which never married, had children with several men or married already married men! One even claimed to have been a spy for Charles II during the Second Dutch War.

    Not exactly society shattering stuff on Austen’s part then, even by 18th century standards.

    Austen might be more famous currently than those who came before her, but isn’t that an argument to promote someone else via a banknote?

    NB; pre-1930s English literature is absolutely not an area I know anything about so I am researching on the fly.

  • Shard Aerliss

    I am conflicted on this. I find her work totally boring, but she has supposedly got many more kids reading and that is something to be very pleased about.

    She has also been outspoken on the topic of paying her taxes and how everyone who has become rich or makes money in the UK should damn well pay their taxes too.

  • Shard Aerliss

    Yeah, I like having bank notes with the hero of evolutionary theory on one side and the head of the Church of England on the other.

  • Anonymous

    Such women existed, but I don’t think that means they weren’t extraordinary or exceptional in some way. That’s why the word “rule” is being used here — they were not the rule.

    Spinsters, regardless of when the word was coined, have always existed, but in the overwhelming majority of cultures and societies, are seen as an undesirable.

    I don’t think that means Austen is the best woman eva, but that other women of similar or surpassing ilk existed should not diminish the quality and reach of her work. The comment you replied by merely pointed out she didn’t necessarily played by the rules, but didn’t say she was some kind of groundbreaking rebel either.

    Plus, it’s clear that the UK is not beyond replacing figures every so often on their notes. Why not give Austen the spotlight for a bit? It doesn’t mean no other women will be denied their time.

  • Lola Arcana

    Which is Churchill on?

  • Lola Arcana

    I would’ve chosen Mary Seacole. She could go on the £50, not many know much about James Watt (the most famous of the two) or Matthew Boulton. Literally two people I have spoken to know who Adam Smith is (I only know because I studied the Scottish Enlightenment at Uni).

    So maybe putting more obscure figures could educate people, especially with them using Google in pub quizzes.

  • Lola Arcana

    Does that mean when Charles inherits the throne only women will be on the banknotes/coins?

    I’m going to guess no.

  • Mina

    Of course! I did not mean to imply that Jane Austen was unique, simply that she was a little unconventional.

    And I agree it would be kind of cool to learn about less well-known historical figures by having them receive a bank note spotlight, but that isn’t typically done. Countries tend to print their most celebrated figures on money, or at least well-known ones. So I’m not very irritated that the bank note spot went to Jane this time around. More ladies will get currency places later.

  • Anonymous

    But it would be cool.

  • Shard Aerliss

    This is my question; why has she been chosen? What did she do? It seemed the answer that was being put forward was that she stood out as someone who didn’t marry and was a female author. That doesn’t seem like much of an achievement compared to others before her.

    Why not give her the spotlight? The question is; why give her the spotlight? What did she do that’s *ahem* note worthy?

  • Shard Aerliss

    Not so much irritated as I don’t know what’s so special about her.

    Although I have to say; how many people know who Elizabeth Fry was?

    Hah, you should see Scottish notes. Some really random things are on those notes. Most Scots I ask have no idea who the people are or why, say, there’s a mouse on one, or a spider on another. It’s very pretty money though XD

  • Shard Aerliss

    I don’t recall seeing any women on Scottish notes (that doesn’t mean there isn’t one). Mice, spiders, castles, fictional characters, someone who took Christianity to the “savages”… or something. I’m not sure what that note is all about, to be honest. I’ve not seen any women.

  • Mina

    Well I have no good guesses about the spider or the mouse, but I just looked at a bunch of the current bank notes on, and I’ve heard of a good half of those people (I’m American). Your people may be more famous than you knew! :)

    And it IS pretty money. Much nicer than ours. I’m a little bit jealous of other people’s pretty money.

  • Shard Aerliss

    My people? Shhh, don’t let the Scots here that! I’m English XD

    Scotland has produced a lot of recent history’s finest though, in art, literature, all of the sciences, architecture. Athens of the north and all that.

    I suppose America’s not lagging far behind ;)

  • Shard Aerliss

    Oh, the spider is a Robert the Bruce legend. When he thought all was lost in the war, when he was losing more battles than he was winning, and hiding out in a cave, he saw a little spider building her web. He had brushed the web and destroyed it, but she went right back to building. She never gave up. She spurred him on to keep fighting, to never give up.

    The mouse I THINK is a tribute to a Robert Burns poem; To a Mouse

    I could be wrong on that one though, it’s a guess. It is the cutest bank note ever though…