The new £20 note

The Bank of England has unveiled the design of the new £20 note which is scheduled for issue on 20th February next year.

The new note, featuring artist JMW Turner, will be made in polymer to join the Churchill £5 and the Austen £10 notes. With sophisticated security features, including two windows and a two-colour foil, it is the most secure Bank of England note ever printed.

The public will begin to see the note at the end of February next year but the current paper £20 notes will still be considered legal tender. Notice will be given six months ahead of the withdrawal of the note.

Commenting on the new note, the Governor said: “Our banknotes celebrate the UK’s heritage, salute its culture, and testify to the achievements of its most notable individuals. And so it is with the new £20 banknote, featuring JMW Turner, launched today at Turner Contemporary in Margate. 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.”

Features on the new £20 note include:

  • A large see-through window with a blue and gold foil on the front depicting Margate lighthouse and Turner Contemporary. The foil is silver on the back. The shape of the large window is based on the shape of the fountains in Trafalgar Square.

  • A smaller see-through window in the bottom corner of the note, inspired by Tintern Abbey.

  • JMW Turner’s self-portrait, painted c. 1799 and currently on display in Tate Britain.

  • One of Turner’s most eminent paintings The Fighting Temeraire; a tribute to the ship HMS Temeraire which played a distinguished role in Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The painting is currently on display in the National Gallery and was voted the nation’s favourite painting in a 2005 poll run by BBC Radio 4.

  • A metallic hologram which changes between the word ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.

  • The Queen’s portrait in the see-through window with ‘£20 Bank of England’ printed twice around the edge.

  • A silver foil patch with a 3D image of the coronation crown.

  • A purple foil patch containing the letter ‘T’ and based on the staircase at the Tate Britain.

  • A quote “Light is therefore colour” from an 1818 lecture by Turner referring to the innovative use of light, shade, colour and tone in his pictures.

  • Turner’s signature from his Will, the document with which he bequeathed many of his paintings to the nation.