JMW Turner to become the face of new £20 note

By Maria Martens Serrano - Saturday, April 23, 2016
JMW Turner to become the face of new £20 note

Romanticist landscape painter JMW Turner has been chosen to be the face of the new £20 note, which will enter circulation in 2020. Turner has been chosen from over 500 possibilities, which included Francis Bacon and Alexander McQueen.

JMW Turner to become the face of new £20 note

Romanticist landscape painter JMW Turner has been chosen to be the face of the new £20 note, which will enter circulation in 2020.

Turner has been chosen from over 500 possibilities, which included Francis Bacon and Alexander McQueen. From all these potential figures, which were nominated by the public in a nationwide vote, the list was narrowed down to a final five: Charlie Chaplin, Josiah Wedgewood, Barbara Hepworth, William Hogarth, and the winner JMW Turner.

Artist Tracey Emin made the announcement alongside the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, who claimed that “Turner is arguably the single most influential British artist of all time.”

This marks the first time that the public were invited to give their input on future banknotes. As such, Emin noted: “the fact that we have this on the £20 note shows now that the British people are a nation of people who appreciate creativity and appreciate the arts.”

The note will feature Turners image, taking from his own 1799 self-portrait, and details from one of his most famous works, The Fighting Temeraire.

JMW Turner new 20 pound note
Photograph: Bank of England/PA


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Maria Martens Serrano is a Dutch-Salvadoran writer. She studied under a liberal arts program at University College Utrecht, going on to graduate with an MSc in Sociology from the University of Amsterdam. Exploring a broad range of interests, Maria previously worked with a news website and a human rights NGO, before becoming involved with several art fairs in the Netherlands. She now writes on topics of arts and culture. In early 2015 Maria joined the team of Artdependence Magazine as editor and contributor.

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Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

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