The Queen appears on all our bank coinage and notes and is there on the basis of birthright, so whatever we think of her hard work, she’s not there on the basis of her achievements.
The recent decision to replace Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note with Winston Churchill has caused a public furore ... demanding a rethink of the male dominated faces on bank notes ...
To soften the blow and ensure female representation the Bank of England’s new (Canadian) Governor, Mark Carney, has confirmed Jane Austen will be the face of the new £10 note in 2016/7, replacing Charles Darwin.
|The illustration by Hugh Thomson|
representing Mr Collins protesting
that he never reads novels
(Pride and Prejudice - Wikipedia)
Florence Nightingale was featured twenty years ago on the £10 note ... so at least in the future... Sense and Sensibility will prevail ... with Austen becoming the new female face ...
... while Miss Bingley’s words from Pride and Prejudice ... “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” will appear on the note ... these will always ring true with us bloggers-authors.
There is a rolling programme of changing notes and I suspect in future we’ll have good representation of our deserving women ... Mary Wollstonecraft, the 18thC writer, Mary Seacole, the Jamaican-born nurse from the Crimean War, Emmeline Pankhurst, the suffragette, Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer ... and seventy plus others ...
Perhaps some of those won’t fit the four criteria, below, for selection:
- being uncontroversial;
- a pictorial representation must exist to base the ‘face’ on;
- they must have made a universally recognised contribution with enduring benefits;
- while their name must be broadly recognised.
|"A" bank note!|
De La Rue, currently the printer of choice for the Bank of England is charged with ensuring that the supply of paper cash is constantly maintained and refreshed.
Paper currency was first developed in the Tang Dynasty China during the 7th century, although true paper money did not appear until the 11th century, during the Song Dynasty.
The usage of paper currency later spread through the Mongol Empire, with European explorers like Marco Polo introducing the concept to Europe during the 13th century.
|25% cotton rich paper|
The process takes at least sixteen weeks of starting on a design to the first notes being rolled off the presses, while the printing production can take three weeks to complete.
The notes are printed on cotton-rich paper that is made in De La Rue’s own mill and trucked north to the printing works. All the raw materials are counted in and all the banknotes are counted out, some by hand, others by a machine, to ensure nothing goes missing along the way.
|Art work by JuliaTrigg.co.uk|
nothing to do with bank notes,
I just liked it!
The ink department blends 14 basic colours sourced from a Swiss supplier, plus some chemicals that help dry the gloopy ink (the black vat resembles a barrel of crude oil) to a recipe that’s suggested by the design team.
Each batch is checked and rechecked – as the cost of the ink runs to thousands of pounds per kilogram – before it can be mixed in huge vats in 200 kg batches.
The concept for a new bank note is an ink-jet low-resolution print ... a world away from the 10,000 dots per inch (dpi) that will comprise the final product.
Some of the details in this post came from the recent Sunday Times magazine article, which is printed at a resolution of 304 dpi.
The design of each bank note encompasses three elements – the aesthetic side, the security component features, and the durability of the bank note.
The artists are accomplished and recognised in their own right with works displayed in the National Gallery, but for the bank notes the essential element is that the eventual design is functional.
There are about 500 different security features that can be called on for use within each bank note, but a typical bank note holds about ten security features (though where a high incidence of counterfeiting occurs more security features can be built in).
Security features designed for use on banknotes are the thin type process called intaglio, hologram patch, holographic spread and hologram stripe ... while there are three levels of security on each bank note ... as examples:
- The Queen’s head becomes visible on a UK banknote when held up to the light is classed as a level 1 public recognition feature, the kind we can spot ourselves;
- Others are level 2 features, which may require ultraviolet light, typically used by shopkeepers to check for validity;
- Level 3 are covert features: only that particular country’s central bankers know what they are.
|Modern engraved reproduction of|
Rembrandt's 1639 self-portrait
(see Wiki - engraving)
The second printing process, intaglio, where thin lines are applied with a tolerance of error of just five microns, or five-thousandths of a millimetre. There, rollers apply 85 tons of pressure to adhere the ink to the paper, and allow it to flow through the crevices before being wiped off. And that’s just one side of the banknote.
Artists who we would recognise and who used the intaglio process are Durer, Goya, Whistler, Picasso and Rembrandt ... after approval of the design the artists can get to work engraving the templates – the first of which will be for the Churchill £5 note.
|Micro-topography on a French postage stamp|
(detail) showing the thickness of ink obtained
by intaglio (see Wiki)
.. one of those notes with the eleven simple words “I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ...” will be exchanged for a book, some groceries ... or even some baby memorabilia, but not by me!
Here it is confirmed that money comes from a factory – it doesn’t grow on trees!
With thanks to the Sunday Times article ... and who had insight into De La Rue’s factories and offices ... you can seethe start of the article and some of De La Rue’s images ... more available if you subscribe, I do not I just happened to buy the paper that week.
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