New £20 note to feature artist
The Bank of England has announced that the new and revamped £20 note will feature a visual artist, replacing the esteemed eighteenth century economist Adam Smith, whose profile has been in circulation since 2007.
Its governor, Mark Carney, said that the new note would celebrate the country’s achievements in the field of art. And, to ensure that it best reflects the sentiments of the nation, he called on the public to nominate their candidates.
For a two month period – up until July 19th – you will be able to, through the Bank’s nomination form, cast your vote as to which prominent artist of historic significance should be celebrated with appearing on the £20 note.
Speaking at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Mr Carney said he was delighted to launch what is the Bank of England’s first ever public consultation of this kind, which is part of its new selection process for choosing figures to appear on its notes.
The idea is to ensure that whoever appears on the widely circulated forms of currency “command broad respect and legitimacy”. However, the final decision will belong to the governor (informed by a special group of advisers).
“There are a wealth of individuals within the field of visual arts whose work shaped British thought, innovation, leadership, values and society and who continue to inspire people today,” Mr Carney elaborated.
“I greatly look forward to hearing from the public who they would like to celebrate. I am also pleased to welcome John Akomfrah, Alice Rawsthorn, and Andrew Graham-Dixon to the committee. Their expertise across the field of visual arts will be invaluable when shortlisting the public’s nominations.”
Artists can be selected from all visual arts disciplines, including painters, sculptors, printmakers, designers, architects, fashion designers, photographers, ceramists and filmmakers. The final choice will be announced in the spring of 2016 and introduced properly within – somewhat ambiguously – the next three to five years.
However, while this is a welcome development for artists and those who are passionate about the discipline and the industry and market that surrounds it, many remain cautious about what the end result will be.
Speaking to the Guardian, various scholars highlighted the likely gender bias that will emerge. It is highly unlikely they argue that a women will be selected because of the low number of historical figures that could qualify.
“They [the Bank of England] have got themselves into a bit of a bind here,” Patricia De Montfort, lecturer in art history at the University of Glasgow, told the newspaper recently.
“Women visual artists of the past centuries just simply don’t have the visibility of people like Jane Austen [who is to appear on the new £5 note]. It was easier for women authors, they could publish anonymously or under different names, but it was very hard for women artists to exhibit.”
Cadogan Tate specialises in art transportation, fine art storage and art logistics, helping galleries, museums and collectors manage their collections.