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University helps launch new Jane Austen ten pound note

Published: 
19 July 2017
Dr Gillian Dow
Dr Gillian Dow, with Mark Carney and the Very Rv’d Catherine Ogleand. Credit: Bank of England

Dr Gillian Dow, Associate Professor in English at the University of Southampton, has helped launch the new £10 banknote, alongside Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney.

Dr Dow, who is also Executive Director of Chawton House Library, addressed an audience of hundreds gathered at Winchester Cathedral (Tuesday 18 July).  One of only three people to speak at the event, including the Governor, she talked about Austen’s life – her achievements, popular appeal, literary legacy and connections to finance.

She says: “Jane Austen has a textual presence across the globe, but there is something wonderful in imagining the further places she will now go, printed on the ten pound note – perhaps tucked in a smart wallet on a business trip to the States, in a hand bag on route to Mauritius, or indeed a shopping trip to London.  I feel absolutely certain she would relish this honour.

“Austen gained phenomenal global success long after her death, but there will always be people who haven’t read her.  I hope they will now see her image and be tempted to pick up one of her novels.” 

The banknote, featuring a portrait of the author, is printed on polymer and is the first Bank of England note with a tactile feature to help blind and partially sighted users.  It will be issued on 14 September 2017 and the public will begin to see it in the following days and weeks as notes leave cash centres across the country to enter general circulation.

The launch of the banknote coincides with the 200th anniversary of the death of Austen, who is buried in Winchester Cathedral.  An exhibition re-examining her career, alongside her French contemporary Germaine de Staël (who also died in 1817) is being held at Chawton House Library.

Curated by Dr Dow, 'Fickle Fortunes' (runs til 24 September 2017) looks at the differing peaks in popularity of the two writers – with Austen enjoying only modest success in her lifetime, but now extremely popular and de Staël once famous throughout Europe, now slipping into relative obscurity.

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