Polymer Ten Pound Note

Object name: Polymer £10 note

Object number: CHWJA:JAH400

Category: Objects

Description: Polymer ten pound note, with serial no. AA01001949. The design features a stylized portrait of Jane Austen, an illustration of a scene from Pride and Prejudice, a depiction of Jane Austen’s writing table and a pattern of quill pens, and an image of Godmersham Park. It also features the quote “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading.”

Made: 2017

Context: On July 24 2013 Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England visited Jane Austen’s House to announce that Jane Austen had been chosen to be the great British historical figure featured on the first-ever polymer £10 banknote; the only woman in the series then being designed to replace the last to be made in traditional cotton paper.

The resulting polymer note was issued on September 14 2017. This example was donated to the Museum by the Bank of England. 2017 was also the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death.

The engraved image of Jane Austen which dominates the reverse of the note was derived from the portrait commissioned by James Edward Austen Leigh in 1870, itself adapted from the well-known sketch by her sister, Cassandra.

The smaller image is adapted from a drawing by Elizabeth Bishop (1902-1988) of Elizabeth Bennet undertaking “The examination of all the letters which Jane had written to her”.

Behind it all is a stylised depiction of the eight-sided writing table, which is itself one of the treasures of the museum, with a pattern of quills to suggest the ones she would have used there.

The composition is completed by an image of Godmersham Park, being approached by a small carriage such as the one Jane might have used on her visits there. Godmersham was the home of Jane’s brother Edward Knight, and is believed to have been the inspiration for a number of her novels.

The quotation “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”, is also from Pride and Prejudice.

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