£20 banknote character selection and future banknote design

Yesterday, the two month public nomination period to determine who should appear on the next £20 note officially closed.
Published on 20 July 2015

Since 19 May, members of the public have nominated visual artists who they believe helped to shape British thought, innovation, leadership, values and society.

In total 29,701 nominations were made, covering 592 eligible visual artists. The Bank of England’s Banknote Advisory Committee will now consider all eligible nominations and, together with input from public focus groups, produce a shortlist of 3-5 names. These will then go to the Governor for a final decision. Both the Committee and the Governor will make their decisions with reference to the character selection principles announced in December 2013 and will only consider people nominated by the public. 

The decision will be announced in spring next year, alongside a concept image showing the character’s portrait as it will appear on the note. The new £20 note is expected to enter circulation by 2020. 

The Bank of England is also announcing today that future banknotes, starting with the £5 polymer note in 2016, will include symbols representing all four of the home nations. The imagery will be taken from the Royal Coat of Arms and the Royal Badge of Wales. This follows discussions with the First Ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The design will be released at the unveiling of the new £5 note next year. 

Chief Cashier, Victoria Cleland said: 

“The Bank is delighted with the number and breadth of the nominations we have received, and we are very grateful to all those who have engaged with us on this new initiative. The fact that so many visual artists have been put forward by the public underlines the extent of British achievement in the visual arts and reinforces why this field deserves to be recognised on the next £20 note.” 

“During this process, we have repeatedly heard how important banknotes are as a symbol of the United Kingdom. So the Bank is pleased to announce today that after careful consideration future banknote designs, starting with the new polymer £5 note, will explicitly represent all four nations of the UK.”  

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