New £20 note featuring painter Turner revealed as Bank of England’s most secure

Innovative design makes new note very difficult to counterfeit, central bank says 

Olesya Dmitracova
Economics and Business Editor
Thursday 10 October 2019 15:56
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Bank of England unveil new £20 note

The Bank of England has unveiled the design of the new £20 note, which features the painter JMW Turner as announced previously. The bank said it will be its most secure note yet.

The hard-wearing polymer note, which will be issued from 20 February 2020, has two windows and a two-colour foil. This design, used for the first time, makes the note very difficult to counterfeit, the central bank said on Thursday.

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

“Turner’s contribution to art extends well beyond his favourite stretch of shoreline,” said Bank of England governor Mark Carney.

“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 new note features Turner’s self-portrait, painted in approximately 1799 and currently on display in Tate Britain, as well as his signature from his will.

It was announced that the painter would feature on the new £20 note in 2016.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) welcomed the new, more secure design of what it called the most common note in circulation.

“The introduction of this new £20 note is a great step to cutting down on fraud which is a thorn in the side of small firms,” said FSB national chair Mike Cherry.

Polymer notes already in circulation include the £10 note featuring novelist Jane Austen and the £5 note carrying the portrait of Winston Churchill. A new £50 note featuring scientist Alan Turing will follow in 2021.

When the new £20 notes are released, the public will be able to continue using paper £20 notes, which will be gradually withdrawn as they are banked by retailers and shoppers. The Bank of England will give six months’ notice before paper £20 notes become invalid.

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