New £20 note design unveiled by the Bank of England

Polymer banknotes billed as the ‘most secure yet’ against forgery will enter into circulation in February 2020.

The Governor of the Bank of England has this week unveiled the new £20 polymer banknote design, featuring British artist JMW Turner.

Turner, the first artist to feature on a British banknote, was famed for his paintings of the local seascapes in Margate, where he grew up.

The £20 note follows the Bank’s launch of polymer £5 and £10 notes, which went into circulation back in September 2016 and September 2017 respectively.

The Bank is opting for polymer over traditional paper notes because it is cleaner, longer-lasting and harder to forge.

The Bank said the latest note was its most secure yet with two windows and a two-colour foil, making it difficult to counterfeit. With more than two-billion £20 notes in circulation, it is Britain’s most used and forged banknote.

The new note will enter circulation on 20 February alongside existing paper £20 notes, which will gradually be phased out.

The new polymer notes feature images of historic British figures, with Winston Churchill appearing on the £5 note and Jane Austen on the £10 note. A £50 note featuring the mathematician and second world war codebreaker Alan Turing will follow in 2021.

Carney said on Thursday: “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 note features Turner’s 1799 self-portrait, which hangs in Tate Britain, as well as one of his most recognisable works, The Fighting Temeraire, a tribute to the ship which played a big part in Nelson’s victory at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.