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Bank of England criticised for 'airbrushing' Jane Austen on new £10 note

Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney speaks at the presentation of the concept design for the new Bank of England ten pound banknote, featuring author Jane Austen at the Jane Austen House Museum in Chawton, near Alton, UK.

The new polymer £10 note has caused outrage before it even comes into UK circulation.

Claims have been made by historian and TV presenter, Lucy Worsley, that the portrait of the ‘Sense and Sensibility’ author, Jane Austen has been airbrushed.

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Worsley told the Sunday Times: “It’s deeply ironic that the image chosen by the Bank of England isn’t really her… It’s an author publicity portrait after she died in which she’s been given the Georgian equivalent of an airbrushing.”

She added: “It’s the National Portrait Gallery’s sketch that we really think is Jane (see below) – a sketch done by her sister Cassandra.

“They presumably said to the artist, make it look prettier . . . It is like doctoring a selfie by a celebrity. It is such a shame because that demure image is just not Austen.”

Portrait of Jane Austen (Steventon 1775 – Winchester 1817), British writer from the pre-Romantic period, by Cassandra Austen (1773-1845), ca 1810, watercolour and pencil, 11.4×8 cm. London, National Portrait Gallery.

The Bank of England chose a portrait by James Andrews as basis for the new design.

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Jane Austen was announced as the new face of the £10 note in 2014, following a campaign to put a woman on the currency after Elizabeth Fry was taken off the £5 note to make way for Winston Churchill.

The new note is set to be launched on July 18 this year and is expected to made available to the general public in September.