Here's what the new £20 note looks like - and when it enters circulation

The design of the new £20 banknote featuring famed artist JMW Turner has been unveiled.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 2:37 pm
The unveiling of the full design of the new 20 note featuring JMW Turner. Picture: Leon Neal/PA Wire

The notes will enter circulation next year and will celebrate the artist and his legacy, according to the Bank of England's governor Mark Carney.

The new polymer £20, which contains sophisticated security features, will be issued for the first time on February 20 2020, as they leave cash centres and enter general circulation.

Mr Carney said: ‘As the new Turner £20 testifies, money can be a work of art in everyone's pocket.’

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The new 20 notes which will enter circulation next year. Picture: Leon Neal/PA Wire

The new note depicts Turner's celebrated painting the Fighting Temeraire - a tribute to the ship HMS Temeraire which played a role in Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

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HMS Temeraire became a popular tourist attraction after she arrived in Portsmouth following the Battle of Trafalgar and remained dry-docked in our city while she underwent epairs for damage sustained during the battle until mid-1807. 

The Fighting Temeraire was voted the nation's favourite painting in a 2005 poll run by BBC Radio 4.

The new 20 notes which will enter circulation next year. Picture: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Other features of the new banknote include the quote: ‘Light is therefore colour’, taken from an 1818 lecture by Turner referring to the 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, also appears on the new banknote.

The existing £20 note is the most common of the Bank's notes in circulation, and also the most forged, making up around 88% of detected banknote forgeries in the first half of this year according to Bank of England statistics.

The Bank said the new note is ‘the most secure Bank of England banknote yet’.

It incorporates two windows and a two-colour foil to thwart counterfeiters. 

Like the polymer £10, the new £20 note will contain a tactile feature to help vision impaired people identify the denomination.

The new note will join the Sir Winston Churchill £5 and the Jane Austen £10.

A new £50 note, featuring Alan Turing, will follow in 2021.

People can carry on spending the current paper £20 notes, featuring the economist Adam Smith for now, and the Bank said that notice will be given six months ahead of legal tender status of the paper £20 being withdrawn.

The design of the new note was launched at Turner Contemporary in Margate.