Artist Turner To Appear On England’s New £20 Note

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The artist J. M. W. Turner will appear on the new £20 note, Bank of England governor Mark Carney announced Friday.

The new design will include Joseph Mallord William Turner’s self-portrait and his 1838 oil painting “The Fighting Temeraire”.

“Turner is perhaps the single most influential British artist of all time,” Carney said.

“His work was transformative, bridging the classical and modern worlds. His influence spanned his lifetime and is still apparent today.”

Carney made the announcement as he unveiled a concept image of the note at the Turner Contemporary art gallery in the southeast English seaside resort of Margate.

“Turner bequeathed this painting to the nation, an example of his important contribution to British society,” said Carney.

The new note ($28.80, 25.70 euro) will also include the quote “Light is therefore colour”, from an 1818 lecture by Turner referring to his use of light, shade, colour and tone.

Turner was selected by Britain’s central bank following nominations from the public.

“It’s so amazing that an artist has been chosen for the £20 note and an artist who was a wild maverick,” artist Tracey Emin said at the launch.

Emin — who grew up in Margate — shot to fame when her unmade bed was nominated for the 1999 Turner Prize, Britain’s top award for contemporary visual artists.

“It’s wonderful that Britain’s creative side is being honoured in this way,” she said.

The current £20 note, first issued in 2007, carries a picture of 18th-century economist Adam  Smith.

Alex Farquharson, director of London’s Tate Britain gallery, said: “Turner’s popularity is unrivalled — he was voted the nation’s favourite artist last year — and now everyone can celebrate Turner’s great contribution to art on a daily basis.”

The Bank of England issues £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes.

The new £20 note, which will enter circulation by 2020, will be the third in a series of banknotes printed for the first time on polymer rather than paper.

A new polymer £5 note featuring World War II prime minister Winston Churchill is to be unveiled on June 2 and enter circulation in September.

A £10 note on polymer featuring novelist Jane Austen will be issued in 2017.

The new notes retain a regular layout, featuring a 1990 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, and a historical figure on the reverse.

Sterling is the first of the world’s most traded currencies — ahead of the US dollar, the euro and the yen — to switch to polymer.

The one-time slave turned abolitionist Harriet Tubman was named Wednesday as the new face of the $20 banknote, the first time an African American has featured on US currency.