Bank of England unveils new £20 note featuring the artist JMW Turner

10 October 2019

The Bank of England says the polymer note is the most secure it has designed

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The Bank of England governor Mark Carney has unveiled the design of the new £20 note featuring the artist JMW Turner.

The new note was launched at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, named after the famous landscape painter. Turner went to school in Margate and the town inspired many of his paintings.

The polymer £20 note comes after the launch of the Churchill £5 in 2016 and the Austen £10 in 2017.

The note, which the banks says is it most secure yet, will enter circulation on 20 February 2020.

The Bank has moved away from traditional paper notes because polymer is more durable, cleaner, and more difficult to forge.

The public can continue to spend paper £20 notes as usual and notice will be given six months ahead of them being withdrawn.

Mr Carney says: “Our banknotes celebrate the UK’s heritage, salute its culture, and testify to the achievements of its most notable individuals. Turner’s contribution to art extends well beyond his favourite stretch of shoreline. 

“Turner’s painting was transformative, his influence spanned lifetimes, and his legacy endures today. The new £20 note celebrates Turner, his art and his legacy in all their radiant, colourful, evocative glory.”

The polymer £20 note contains sophisticated security that makes it difficult to counterfeit, including two see-through windows and a metallic hologram.

Polymer notes last longer than paper notes and they stay in better condition during day-to-day use.

Just like the polymer £10, the note will contain a tactile feature to help vision impaired people identify the denomination.

The note features one of Turner’s most eminent paintings, The Fighting Temeraire - a tribute to the ship HMS Temeraire which involved in Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The painting is currently on display in the National Gallery and was voted the nation’s favourite painting in a 2005 poll run by BBC Radio 4.

The new £20 note will be the first to feature the signature of Sarah John, the Bank’s chief cashier.

She says: “The new £20 is an important part of our commitment to providing banknotes that people can use with confidence. 

"Our polymer notes are much harder to counterfeit and, with the £20 being our most common note, this marks a big step forward in our fight against counterfeiting. I hope the public will look forward to spending their new Turner £20s from February next year.”

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