Jane Austen is one of the best wordsmiths to ever grace the planet, a woman who illuminated the lives of Georgian women and brought us feminist heroes from Elizabeth Bennet to Emma Woodhouse, many a page-turning love triangle and the surly joys of Mr Darcy. Today marks the 200th anniversary of her death.
To celebrate her achievements, not only will she be displayed on our tenure as the face of the new £10 note, she’s also the focus of the Bank of England Museum’s latest exhibition ‘Stories from the City: The Bank of England in Literature’. Opening tomorrow, the display showcases the bank’s literary connections over the past three centuries from Austen to George Eliot and Charles Dickens to Robert Browning, reflecting on moments when the Bank and the finances of London have been woven into classic works of fiction and exploring the political and economic times in which stories were written.
The exhibits, drawn from the vast collections amassed by the Bank since 1694, include a special One Thousand Pound note signed by George Eliot when she visited the bank in 1874; the original hand-drawn artwork for the £10 note, which featured Charles Dickens; an examination of the new Jane Austen note’s design; material relating to the true story behind Terrence Rattigan’s play ‘The Winslow Boy’, that of the young son of a Bank of England official who was falsely accused of theft; and references Kenneth Grahame, TS Eliot and PG Wodehouse who all worked in the bank at different points in their lives. If you’ve any sense (or sensibility) you’ll be there.
‘Stories from the City: The Bank of England in Literature’ runs from Jul 19 until summer 2018 at the Bank of England Museum in Threadneedle St.