© 2020 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Artist J.M.W. Turner To Be Featured On U.K. £20, Ousting Economist Adam Smith

Joseph Mallord William Turner's "Self portrait, age 24," will grace the UK's £20 note.
Joseph Mallord William Turner's "Self portrait, age 24," will grace the UK's £20 note.

Following a national nomination process, the Bank of England has announced the new face of the £20 bill: famed painter Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), known for his landscapes, seascapes and innovative depiction of light.

Turner will replace economist Adam Smith, the influential advocate of free market policies who came up with the notion of the "invisible hand."

After deciding that the figure on the bill would be from the visual arts field, the U.K. got the public involved by seeking nominations. The Bank of England says it received "29,701 nominations covering 590 eligible characters," and the bank's governor made the final decision.

"There were lots of very well-known names, but also I discovered artists I'd never heard of and their great contribution. ... So the real thing that surprised me was the sheer breadth of talent," Bank of England Chief Cashier Victoria Cleland said in a video about the decision.

The Bank of England has published a concept illustration of the new bill, which it says will enter circulation by 2020:

Art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon said Turner "is to British art what Darwin is to British science or Churchill is to British politics." Here's more from Graham-Dixon:

"He is, I think, without doubt, the single most original British artist of all time – the one who's had the greatest influence on the art of Europe and indeed, the world. His breakthroughs, his obsession with the depiction of light, was a huge catalyst for that minor French movement known as Impressionism."

In addition to a Turner self-portrait, the note will feature his painting The Fighting Temeraireand a quote from him: "Light is therefore colour."

"The Fighting Temeraire," Turner's 1839 painting which will appear on the new £20 bill.
/ Getty Images
"The Fighting Temeraire," Turner's 1839 painting which will appear on the new £20 bill.

Other possible candidates included actor Charlie Chaplin, artist Barbara Hepworth, potter Josiah Wedgwood, film director Alfred Hitchcock and artist William Hogarth.

As NPR reported, the Bank of England announced in 2013 that Jane Austen will replace Charles Darwin on the £10 bill.

The BBC noted that "of the five characters on banknotes by 2020, other than the Queen only Jane Austen - appearing on the £10 note from 2017 - is a woman."

Earlier this week, the U.S. Treasury announced plans to replace Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on its $20 bill.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

We Need Your Help Now More Than Ever

WFAE mask

Our newsroom is hard at work covering everything from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to the aftermath of the election, the race for a vaccine and our communities' fight to rebuild. But we can't do it without you. Support our local journalism with a donation of ANY amount, and we’ll send you a free WFAE member mask courtesy of AllDayMask.com of Monroe.