Jane Austen experts slam Bank of England over 'retouched' tenner

Jane Austen experts slam Bank of England over 'retouched' tenner

The Bank of England has been accused of choosing an airbrushed image of the novelist Jane Austen for the polymer £10 note, which will be unveiled in July.

Campaigners backed Austen to be the face of the new note, following the decision to remove Elizabeth Fry, the Quaker prison reformer, from the fiver and replace her with Winston Churchill. But they now say the Bank of England should have used used a more realistic sketch of the writer by her sister Cassandra, rather than a ‘retouched’ portrait.

The Austen biographer, Paula Byrne, told the Sunday Times: “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.”

The historian and TV presenter, Lucy Worsley, who has recently published a book about the author, said: “Jane Austen fans are pleased, obviously, that she’s going to appear on the banknote, but it’s deeply ironic that the image chosen by the Bank of England isn’t really her. It’s an author publicity portrait painted after she died in which she’s been given the Georgian equivalent of an airbrushing; she’s been subtly ‘improved’. Jane had a much sharper face, some might call it sour. And she was a sharp person. I think of her as being like a bracing martini.” 

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