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Alexander McQueen and Beatrix Potter in running to feature on £20 bank note

Published 19/07/2015

The Bank of England has already received more than 21,000 nominations for the new face of the £20 note
The Bank of England has already received more than 21,000 nominations for the new face of the £20 note

Fashion designer Alexander McQueen and sculptor Barbara Hepworth are among the big names in the world of art to be nominated by the public to appear on the new £20 note.

More than 21,000 nominations have already flooded in to the Bank of England (BoE), which closes its two-month public consultation on who should become the next face of the £20 note tonight.

Author Beatrix Potter, architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh and master painters John Constable and JMW Turner have also been named in a varied list which has made it "very difficult to say who would be one of the front-runners", according to Victoria Cleland of the BoE.

She told BBC Breakfast: "When I left my office on Friday we had got about 21,000 (nominations) and I think more have been coming in over the weekend."

Nominees, to replace economist Adam Smith on the £20 note, must come from the world of the visual arts and no longer be alive.

The final decision will be based on the strength of the nominee's contribution and not on the number of times they were nominated, according to the BoE, which said the public can still go online at www.bankofengland.co.uk to make their suggestion.

The public nominations follow controversy sparked when the BoE revealed it was planning to replace Elizabeth Fry with Sir Winston Churchill on new £5 notes - meaning there would be no women other than the Queen on sterling bank notes.

Feminist campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez received rape and death threats online as she successfully campaigned for author Jane Austen to feature on the bank note.

Ms Cleland said: "I think we found out how much people care (about bank notes). We all have got them in our wallets and purses. We thought that if the public care this much we should let them have a say."

A short-list of nominations for the £20 note will be drawn up before BoE Governor Mark Carney makes the final decision.

The new note will be introduced into circulation in the next three to five years.

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