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Public to choose new face of £20

Britons are being invited to have their say on who will be the face of the new £20 as the Bank of England launched a consultation to find a historic British artist to feature on the note.

The Bank is asking the public to suggest who they believe should be recognised from the world of visual art - from painters and sculptors to fashion designers and photographers.

Nominations can be made over the next two months via the Bank's website until the deadline of July 19, with plans to announce the new character in spring 2016.

The new £20 will be introduced into circulation in three to five years.

The public nomination follows the Bank's move to set up a new character selection process at the end of 2013, which came after an outcry over a lack of women on p aper money - prompting its decision to choose Pride And Prejudice author Jane Austen to appear on £10 notes from 2017.

A 35,000-name petition was presented to the Bank in 2013 in the wake of the decision to put Sir Winston Churchill on £5 notes in place of prison reformer Elizabeth Fry - one of only two female selections since historical figures were introduced in 1970.

Speaking at the launch of the nomination at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Bank governor Mark Carney said: "There are a wealth of individuals within the field of visual arts whose work shaped British thought, innovation, leadership, values and society and who continue to inspire people today.

"I greatly look forward to hearing from the public who they would like to celebrate."

Nominations can only be made for historic visual artists and the Bank said it will not represent living characters on its banknotes.

Architects, ceramicists, print-makers and film-makers are also among visual artists who can be nominated.

Victoria Cleland, chief cashier and director of notes, said: "Characters have been on our banknotes since 1970 and they provide a fantastic opportunity to celebrate individuals from the past who have made significant contributions in a number of fields.

"The visual arts are clearly an area of outstanding British achievement and influence and I am very much looking forward over the next two months to meeting people across the UK to hear how they have been inspired by it."

The field of visual arts was chosen by the Bank's new banknote character advisory committee, which was announced in January and is chaired by deputy governor Ben Broadbent and comprises chief cashier Ms Cleland and independent experts Sir David Cannadine, Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey and Sandy Nairne.

Mr Carney also announced the appointment of three additional independent members to join the committee, with expertise in visual arts - English artist, writer, film director and screenwriter John Akomfrah, author and design columnist Alice Rawsthorn and art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon.

The committee will draw up a shortlist of characters from public nominations, with input from public focus groups, from which Mr Carney will make the final decision.

The Bank said it was not yet decided if the new £20 note will be printed on plastic, although the new £5 featuring Sir Winston Churchill will be made from polymer when it appears next year.

The new £10 note featuring Jane Austen will also be made from polymer rather than the cotton paper currently used.

The existing £20 note featuring Scottish economist Adam Smith was introduced in 2007.

Other historic characters depicted on previous notes include William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Sir Isaac Newton and Florence Nightingale.


From Belfast Telegraph