Bank of England under fire for airbrushed Jane Austen picture on banknote

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The design was first unveiled last year at the author's home in Chawton, Hampshire (Source: Getty)

The new £10 note featuring Jane Austen is set to come into circulation this year, but Jane Austen aficionados have said the design makes the author look airbrushed.

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

But historian Lucy Worsley told the Sunday Times that it was "ironic" that the image is "just not Austen".

"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."


The James Andrews portrait, which has been used as the basis for the banknote

Worsley added: "It's the National Portrait Gallery's sketch that we think really is Jane - a sketch done by her sister Cassandra."

Both portraits are currently on display in Winchester to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Austen's death.

Louise West, curator of the Mysterious Miss Austen exhibition, told City A.M.: "We don't really know what she looked like, and I suppose the Bank of England had to decide on something.

"People should come and compare the portraits for themselves, alongside the four other images of Jane that we have."


The more "severe" portrait of Austen, painted by her sister Cassandra

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 room for Winston Churchill.

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


The new note is based on the Andrews portrait (Source: Getty)

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