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Vote for the new arty face of the £20 note

Freire Barnes

Queenie might take precedence on our bank notes, but she’s about to get a new friend as the Bank of England for the first time ever, want us – yes, the voice of the nation – to nominate an historic figure from the visual arts for the new £20 banknote. This means that economist Adam Smith who’s graced the note since 2007 is gonna get the heave-ho, with an arts and crafty person taking his place come 2020. But fear not, the ugly mugs of Damien Hirst or Tracey Emin can’t be expected, as your nomination must be of a historic figure – as in a dead person – because the only living person allowed to be depicted is the Monarch. Who knew? That’s bank note protocol for you.

Just over 400 nominations have already been made by nearly 20,000 of you. The likes of sculptress Barbara Hepworth, film director Alfred Hitchcock, painter J.M.W Turner, Pre-Raphaelite muse Elizabeth Siddal, fashion designer Jean Muir, landscapist Capability Brown and photographer Corinne Day have made the long list. Then an advisory committee of experts along with public focus groups will whittle the list down before The Bank of England’s governor Mark Carney has the final say.

So who do you think is worthy? Who’s made the most impactful contribution to the visual arts since day dot? Whose achievement exceeds that of any other creative? I’m sure you can think of one or two. Or if you just want to see your favourite architect, artist, ceramicist, craftsperson, fashion designer, filmmaker, photographer, printmaker or sculptor the next time you go shopping (that’ll be in five years time) get voting as there’s just over a week left before the ballot closes.  

Find out more here and nominate your favourite artist here.

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