Britain’s New £20 Note Will Feature a Visual Artist

Barbara Hepworth is an early favorite.

The Scottish economist Adam Smith is pictured on the current £20 note. Photo: Courtesy of World Bank Notes & Coins Pictures

The Bank of England has announced plans to feature a visual artist on the next version of the £20 banknote, which will go into circulation in the next three to five years, the Financial Times reports. The current £20 note features Scottish economist Adam Smith.

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, announced on Tuesday that the bank was keen to emphasize the contribution that visual artists have made to British culture.

Carney added that the bank was allocating a two-month period during which members of the public can nominate individuals to grace the new currency.

Public nominations were introduced following criticism over gender inequality after the bank replaced Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill on the £5 note, leaving UK’s money without a single female representative. A new £10 note depicting Jane Austen will come into circulation in 2017.

Nominees may be selected from the entire breadth of the visual arts including painters, sculptors, designers, architects, fashion designers, photographers, and filmmakers. However, nominees can’t be among the living, as tradition dictates that the monarch may be the only living person represented on the national currency.

A committee appointed by the Bank of England, which will include arts experts, will draw up a shortlist for the governor at the beginning of next year.

Speaking at the Victoria & Albert Museum Carney said, “There are a wealth of individuals within the field of visual arts whose work shaped British thought, innovation, leadership, values, and society and who continue to inspire people today. I greatly look forward to hearing from the public who they would like to celebrate.”

According to the BBC the frontrunner is currently Barbara Hepworth. Other potential candidates include William Hogarth and Joseph Mallord William Turner.

Nominations can be made on the Bank of England website until July 19th.

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