Wednesday, July 31, 2013

More Problems with the Janie

Those Who Care are finding more and more that’s wrong with the proposed Jane Austen ten-pound note.   The praiseworthy sentiment quoted below the portrait happens to be spoken by an unworthy character who doesn’t really think that way at all.  And at least two more things are wrong with this banknote.
The face is based on a Victorian engraving that was a prettied-up version of the only authentic portrait we have.
 If we had more than head and shoulders on the banknote, you'd see the wedding ring that was added by that engraver, more than half a century after the famously unwed author's death.
The original -- unfinished -- little watercolor was done by Jane's sister Cassandra, who may have shared the fictional Emma Woodhouse's difficulty with drawing faces.
  And the mansion shown in the background, possibly chosen as a nod to Downton Abbey, was not Jane’s home at all.  Godmersham Park belonged to Jane’s brother Edward, the adopted heir of some wealthy cousins.  Jane herself was lucky, in her 30s -- the last decade of her life --  to find a permanent home in a simple cottage that is now visited by thousands of pilgrims every year. 

My bet is that we haven’t heard the last of this.


  1. My confidence in the Jane Austen Society of the UK is high. Its members will browbeat the Bank of England into getting this right, well before the 2017 issue date for the Janie.

  2. Guess I'm in the minority, but I don't mind the quote and I think even JA would have preferred having a flattering portrait to going down in history as Miss Crudely-Drawn Grimface. Perhaps they should have used the picture of her from the back, sitting outdoors, all in blue.

    However I entirely agree that Chawton Cottage should be the background, not Godmersham. What were they thinking??

    No one has commented on the faint drawing of a young woman bent over a desk. I assume she's writing. Is that a Brock or a Thomson?