A head Turner: MPs and Peers get first look at new £20 | IPT

On Tuesday 5 Febuary we were pleased to work in partnership with the Bank of England to showcase the new £20 note at an event in Parliament. The new note, the Bank of England’s most secure ever, will be issued for the first time on 20 February.

Several MPs and Peers came to learn more about the new note that features revered British painter JMW Turner. The note includes the quote “light is therefore colour”, famously said by Turner during a lecture in 1818. It also includes Turner’s 1799 self-portrait and one of his most famous paintings, The Fighting Temeraire.

This was the first time the character for the new note was selected through a method designed to increase transparency: initially, the Banknote Character Advisory Committee set the field in which the character must come from – in this case visual arts. The public then had two months to nominate a figure of significance within that field. The Bank received nearly 30,000 submissions covering 590 eligible characters. The Committee then drew up a shortlist for discussion before the Governor made the final choice.

Sara John, the Bank of England’s Chief Cashier said: “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 20 February.”

The £20 joins the family of polymer notes with the Winston Churchill £5 and Jane Austen £10 already in circulation. A new £50 note featuring Alan Turing will follow next year.

You can expect to see the notes in circulation from 20 February. The public can continue to spend the paper £20 notes, which features Adam Smith, though they will gradually be withdrawn from circulation as they are deposited into banks. Six months’ notice will be given ahead of legal tender status being withdrawn from the paper £20 note.

Find out more about the new note at www.thenew20.co.uk