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Home > Banknotes > The next £20 note

The next £20 note

The Bank of England Governor, Mark Carney, announced on 22 April 2016 that J.M.W. Turner will appear on the next £20 note.


J.W.M Turner banknote concept


The selection of Turner is the first time the Bank of England has used the new character selection process announced in December 2013.

The process involved a two month nomination period between May and July 2015 when the public nominated characters from within the field of the visual arts.

In total 29,701 nominations were received covering 590 eligible characters.

List of Visual Artists nominated by the public






Following this, the Bank of England’s Banknote Character Advisory Committee considered all eligible nominations, and together with input from public focus groups, shortlisted characters from which the Governor took the final decision. Both the Committee and the Governor made their choices in reference to the character selection principles announced in December 2013.

The Committee and the Governor acknowledged that there was a wealth of deserving characters within the field of the visual arts.


The video discusses the process and some of the other characters the Committee considered.

The below list sets out 67 characters that the Committee discussed at the first meeting to shortlist characters

Character shortlist



Commenting on the decision, the Governor said:

“I am delighted to announce that J.M.W. Turner has been chosen to appear on the next £20 note. Turner is perhaps the single most influential British artist of all time. His work was transformative for the art world. His influence spanned his lifetime and well beyond.

"I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who got involved in the process and sent us their suggestions for visual artists to celebrate. The range and breadth of these nominations is testament to the UK’s achievements in the arts. The Banknote Character Advisory Committee did an outstanding job of working through these nominations. Their help in reaching this decision was invaluable.”


The Turner note will be a £20 note printed on polymer and will be issued by 2020. The reverse of the note will include:

  • J.M.W. Turner’s self-portrait, painted c. 1799 and currently on display in the 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 quote - “Light is therefore colour” from an 1818 lecture by Turner referring to his 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.


Key Resources

J.M.W. Turner to appear on the next £20 banknote
News Release, 22 April 2016

J.M.W. Turner Biography