Bank of England unveils design for 'most secure ever' £20 note

10 October 2019, 11:38 | Updated: 10 October 2019, 12:50

The Bank of England has unveiled the design for its new £20 note featuring Romantic painter JMW Turner

The £20 note - made from polymer like the new £10 and £5 notes - contains "sophisticated security features" which make it the "most secure Bank of England banknote yet".

It will be issued for the first time on 20 February 2020.

Of 228,000 counterfeit banknotes found by the Bank of England in the first six months of the year, nearly 90% were £20 notes.

In order to combat this, the bank said that the new note would incorporate two windows and a metallic hologram, making it "very difficult to counterfeit."

"This marks a big step forward in our fight against counterfeiting," Sarah John, the bank's chief cashier, said. Ms John's signature will feature on the note for the first time.

The note will also feature a self-portrait of the artist Turner, painted in 1799, in addition to one of his most famous works, The Fighting Temeraire.

Commenting on Turner's legacy, the bank's governor Mark Carney said: "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," he added.

The Bank of England said the public would be able to continue spending paper £20 notes as usual, adding that they would gradually be withdrawn.

Notice will be given six months ahead of the withdrawal of legal tender status for the paper £20 note.