If you’re not British, or rarely handle English money, perhaps you’ve never noticed that Charles Darwin is on the back of the ten pound note:
Along with the depiction of Darwin, we get compass markers, a ship (presumably the Beagle), and a curious image of a hummingbird agitated by the magnification of a flower.
And notice that Darwin’s bald forehead and flat expression visually echoes the sun and calmed sea on which the Beagle floats. In other words, Darwin’s head is bulbous, like the sun, and his mouth is represented by a horizontal line, like the sea.
This is Darwin as an institutional Apollo taming nature’s “seas”—its once confusing Dionysian mysteries.
I also see, in this representation of Darwin, echoes of the ancient Mesopotamian image of Marduk taming the sea dragon, Tiamat:
In short, Darwin is an authority figure who brings order to nature.
He is thus a logical representative of the glory days of British exploration, intellectual innovation, and imperial power. Further, his scientific insights have carried, for over a century and a half, like the Bank of England, a certain all encompassing, global weight.
Nestled in the lower corner of the British ten pound note, Darwin thus makes for a comfy fit with Britain’s institutional and cultural self-image as a nation committed to reason and global order.