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Turner painting unveiled on Britain's new 20 note

19 October 2019, MVT 18:39
This handout image received on October 10, 2019 from the Bank of England shows the new Twenty Pound Note, back and front, featuring late British painter JMW Turner. - The visual of the new 20-pound note, which will come into circulation in 2020 and dedicated to the famous English painter Turner, was unveiled Thursday by the governor of the Bank of England. (Photo by HO / Bank of England / AFP)
19 October 2019, MVT 18:39

The Bank of England unveiled Britain's new GBP 20 polymer banknote on Thursday, featuring artist J. M. W. Turner and his most cherished masterpiece.

The note includes Joseph Mallord William Turner's self-portrait and his 1838 oil painting "The Fighting Temeraire".

It will enter general circulation on February 2, 2020.

"As the new Turner £20 testifies, money can be a work of art in everyone's pocket," Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said.

The note was unveiled at the Turner Contemporary art gallery in the southeast English seaside resort of Margate.

The GBP 20 note accounts for more than half the banknotes in circulation.

"Our banknotes celebrate the UK's heritage, salute its culture, and testify to the achievements of its most notable individuals," said Carney.

"Turner's painting was transformative, his influence spanned lifetimes, and his legacy endures today. The new GBP 20 note celebrates Turner, his art and his legacy in all their radiant, colourful, evocative glory."

Turner was selected by Britain's central bank following nominations from the public.

The Bank of England issues GBP 5, 10, 20 and 50 notes. The latest series is being printed for the first time on polymer rather than paper.

They retain a regular layout, featuring a 1990 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, and a historical figure on the reverse.

The new GBP 5 and GBP 10 notes have already rolled out.

The GBP 5 note features World War II prime minister Winston Churchill and novelist Jane Austen appears on the GBP 10 note.

The bank claims the new GBP 20 note is its most secure one yet and "very difficult to counterfeit", with features such as two clear windows, two-colour foil, a hologram, raised dots, an ultra-violet 20, tiny letters and a three-dimensional crown.

World War II code-breaker Alan Turing, a computer science pioneer, will appear on the new rarely-used GBP 50 note, to enter circulation by the end of 2021.

Sterling is the first of the world's four most traded currencies -- ahead of the US dollar, the euro and the yen -- to switch to polymer.

Australia was the first country to issue a polymer banknote in 1988 and they are now used in several countries including Canada, Russia and New Zealand.

London, United Kingdom | AFP

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