New £20 note to feature Turner Contemporary's iconic building

Posted in – News

Today, at Turner Contemporary, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, unveiled the design of the new £20 note featuring the artist JMW Turner. A large see-through window with a blue and gold foil on the front depicts Turner Contemporary and the Margate lighthouse, among other elements associated with the artist. The new £20 note will be issued for the first time on 20 February 2020.

Victoria Pomery OBE, Director of Turner Contemporary said: “We are thrilled to feature on the new £20 note which centres on Turner Contemporary’s namesake, JMW Turner (1775 – 1851), who was a regular visitor to Margate in his lifetime. Turner’s legacy runs through everything we do – from our architecture, to our world-class programme of contemporary and historical exhibitions to our work with children and young people. Turner Contemporary has been  the catalyst for social and economic regeneration in Margate. As we approach our 10th anniversary, we remain committed to ensuring that our work continues to transform people and place in exciting, ambitious and innovative ways.”

Commenting on the new note, the Governor said: “Our banknotes celebrate the UK’s heritage, salute its culture, and testify to the achievements of its most notable individuals.  And so it is with the new £20 banknote, featuring JMW Turner, launched today at Turner Contemporary in Margate.  Turner’s contribution to art extends well beyond his favourite stretch of shoreline.  Turner’s painting was transformative, his influence spanned lifetimes, and his legacy endures today.   The new £20 note celebrates Turner, his art and his legacy in all their radiant, colourful, evocative glory.”

This extraordinary moment builds on Turner Contemporary’s success so far. After just 8 years of successful operation, the gallery has established an international profile as well as connecting with thousands of individuals that have never visited a gallery in their lives before[1], locally and nationally. It has driven significant economic impact, injecting over £70million directly into the Kent economy and 3.3million visits since 2011, far exceeding the initial projections of 150,000 visits per year.

Beyond this, over 100,000 local children and young people have connected with its learning programme to date. This autumn every year 7 pupil in Thanet will visit the gallery as part of their transition to secondary school. Soon, a whole generation will not know life without access to an internationally renowned gallery and creative opportunities, on their doorstep. As it builds towards its 10th anniversary, Turner Contemporary continues to rely on sources of public and private investment to sustain its work; inspiring transformation through art, creativity and innovation.

#TheNew20

About Turner Contemporary & JMW Turner

Turner Contemporary has a longstanding association with JMW Turner. Internationally renowned architect David Chipperfield designed the iconic building that now features on the new £20 note. Sited on the spot where Turner stayed in Margate, from the windows, you can see the skies that he famously called “the loveliest in all Europe”.

The gallery is currently hosting the prestigious Turner Prize 2019 exhibition, named after the artist, as he had wanted to create a prize for young artists in his day. Every other year the prize leaves Tate Britain and is hosted at a venue outside of London. Turner Contemporary is the first venue outside of London to have hosted the prize to have a direct connection with JMW Turner.

Turner Contemporary in Margate is one of the most distinctive galleries in the UK; its impact stretches beyond culture-led regeneration and the showcasing of world-class exhibitions, to pioneering change by making the arts more vital and connected to daily life.

Features on the new £20 note include:

  • A large see-through window with a blue and gold foil on the front depicting Margate lighthouse and Turner Contemporary. The foil is silver on the back. The shape of the large window is based on the shape of the fountains in Trafalgar Square.
  • A smaller see-through window in the bottom corner of the note, inspired by Tintern Abbey.
  • JMW Turner’s self-portrait, painted c. 1799 and currently on display in Tate Britain.
  • One of Turner’s most eminent paintings The Fighting Temeraire; a tribute to the ship HMS Temeraire which played a distinguished role in Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The painting is currently on display in the National Gallery and was voted the nation’s favourite painting in a 2005 poll run by BBC Radio 4.
  • A metallic hologram which changes between the word ‘Twenty’ and ‘Pounds’ when the note is tilted.
  • The Queen’s portrait in the see-through window with ‘£20 Bank of England’ printed twice around the edge.
  • A silver foil patch with a 3D image of the coronation crown.
  • A purple foil patch containing the letter ‘T’ and based on the staircase at the Tate Britain.
  • A quote “Light is therefore colour” from an 1818 lecture by Turner referring to the innovative use of light, shade, colour and tone in his pictures.
  • Turner’s signature from his Will, the document with which he bequeathed many of his paintings to the nation.

[1] On average 6% of Turner Contemporary’s audience each year have never visited a gallery in their lives before.