Painter Turner is picture perfect for new Bank of England banknotes

Fri Apr 22, 2016 2:52pm EDT
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By Bethany Rielly

MARGATE, England (Reuters) - British painter J.M.W. Turner will feature on the Bank of England's next 20-pound note after he was chosen ahead of other visual artists ranging from Beatrix Potter and Alfred Hitchcock to Charlie Chaplin.

The Bank received nearly 30,000 nominations from the British public for the new note, due to be issued by 2020, to replace its current face, the 18th Century economist Adam Smith.

The BoE chose Turner, who died in 1851, from a shortlist of visual artists which included filmmaker Chaplin, sculptor Barbara Hepworth, painter William Hogarth and designer Josiah Wedgwood.

"Turner is perhaps the single most influential British artist of all time. His work was transformative, bridging the classical and modern worlds," BoE Governor Mark Carney said as he announced the decision at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate.

Turner, a master of watercolour landscape painting, did much of his work in the English seaside town

The new polymer 20-pound note, which is currently worth about $30, will feature Turner's face and one of his most famous paintings, 'The Fighting Temeraire', which depicts a worn-out battleship under tow as it headed to be scrapped.

Novelist Jane Austen will appear on a new 10-pound banknote due next year, but only three out of the 18 characters on Bank of England notes between 1970 and 2020 will have been women, not including Queen Elizabeth who appears on all the currency.

Carney, who has spoken of the importance of promoting women into more senior roles at the BoE, said he hoped a diverse range of characters would be shown in future banknotes.   Continued...

Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney,(R) and British artist Tracey Emin address a press conference to unveil the new design for a new British 20 pound note featuring an artwork by British artist JMW Turner enitled 'The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last Berth to be broken up' (1839) during a media facility in Margate, Britain, April 22, 2016. REUTERS/Glynn Kirk/Pool