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Bank of England wants an artist for £20 note

£20 notes Image copyright PA
Image caption The current £20 note carries images of the Queen and Adam Smith

The image of a visual artist will appear on the next version of the £20 note - and the Bank of England wants the public to make nominations.

The banknote, which will enter circulation in the next three to five years, currently features the economist Adam Smith.

The Bank is asking the public for suggestions of artists ranging from painters to furniture makers.

But the Bank will want to avoid a repeat of previous equality complaints.

It faced criticism after the planned replacement of campaigner Elizabeth Fry on the £5 note with Winston Churchill, which left it facing the prospect of no women being used on banknote images apart from the Queen.

This was solved when author Jane Austen was announced as the image on the next £10 note.


Analysis: BBC arts and entertainment reporter Mark Savage

Image caption Works such as this - Family of Man - make Barbara Hepworth a possible contender

The Bank of England has come under pressure to represent more women on its banknotes - but the visual arts are not notorious for gender equality.

Georgia O'Keeffe was the only female artist in the top 50 auction sales, ranked by price, last year.

Even when the field is opened up to include fashion designers, architects, ceramicists and designers, the prospects do not improve drastically.

Barbara Hepworth is one obvious candidate but the likelihood is that a male artist will take the spot. William Hogarth, JMW Turner and Isambard Kingdom Brunel are all in contention. The public has two months to sway the vote.


Who to pick?

The public will be asked to nominate an artist to be considered for the banknote before 19 July.

They can include artists, sculptors, printmakers, designers, craftspeople, ceramicists, architects, fashion designers, photographers and filmmakers.

Speaking at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the governor of the Bank, Mark Carney, said people should consider artists "beyond the most obvious and most famous" but they must also be "beyond the grave".

"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," he said.

This will then be considered by a committee which, taking into account worthiness, equality and diversity, will whittle down the list to between three and five.

The Committee is chaired by the Bank's deputy governor Ben Broadbent, and includes chief cashier Victoria Cleland and independent experts Sir David Cannadine, Baroness Lola Young of Hornsey and Sandy Nairne. Three visual arts experts will also join for the £20 note decision - John Akomfrah, Alice Rawsthorn, and Andrew Graham-Dixon.

The final decision will then be made by Mr Carney, with an announcement in the Spring of 2016.

Who's been on Bank of England notes?
Famous Briton Lived Field Note Note from
Isaac Newton 1643-1727 Scientist £1 1978-1988
Duke of Wellington 1769-1852 Soldier and statesman £5 1971-1991
George Stephenson 1781-1848 Engineer £5 1990-2003
Elizabeth Fry 1780-1845 Campaigner £5 2002-present
Florence Nightingale 1820-1910 Nurse & campaigner £10 1975-1994
Charles Dickens 1812-1870 Writer £10 1992-2003
Charles Darwin 1809-1882 Scientist £10 2000-present
William Shakespeare 1564-1616 Writer £20 1970-1993
Michael Faraday 1791-1867 Scientist £20 1991-2001
Sir Edward Elgar 1857-1934 Composer £20 1999-2010
Adam Smith 1723-1790 Economist £20 2007-present
Sir Christopher Wren 1632-1723 Architect £50 1981-1996
Sir John Houblon 1632-1712 Banker £50 1994-present
Matthew Boulton and James Watt 1728-1809, 1736-1819 Entrepreneur and inventor £50 2011-present

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