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  • The governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney with director of Turner Contemporary Victoria Pomery and artist Tracey Emin.
    Photo: Anna Gordon

Turner Contemporary launches #20forTurner at launch of new £20 note

On 22 April, Turner Contemporary welcomed the Bank of England for the launch of the new £20 note to feature JMW Turner. Built on the former site of the painter’s lodging house in Margate with views that inspired him to declare “the skies in Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe”, Turner Contemporary made the ideal venue for this special event.

A concept image of the note, featuring a self-portrait of Turner, backed by a rendition of his painting The Fighting Temeraire, was unveiled by governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney, during a speech in which he echoed Turner’s adoration of Margate views, saying “it has such creative energy”.  Carney also commented on the choice of Turner for the note, which was decided by a mix of public votes, committee evaluation and the governor’s final approval. Carney said “Turner’s influence endures; his face will feature on 20 billion works of art.”

Carney’s speech was followed by one from Tracey Emin, who expressed her pride at being in her hometown, next to a picture of Turner on the new note. “This proves that Britain is a creative nation,” she said.

Director of Turner Contemporary, Victoria Pomery, then launched an ambitious 20 for Turner: Inspire Change fundraising campaign to be rolled out over the next four years. This will encompass a varied programme of fundraising opportunities, focused on the gallery’s vision of Art Inspiring Change within individuals, communities, schools and businesses.

This will take shape through five fundraising initiatives a year, culminating with a national change of the £20 note in 2020. The initiatives will kick off on Friday 29 April with a competition in which the first 20 people to pledge £20 or more will win a Director’s tour of our spring exhibition Seeing Round Corners, which opens on 21 May.

The event follows on from the success of Turner Contemporary’s We are five celebrations on 16 April and was made even more poignant by the fact that we share our birthday month with Turner himself, who would have been 241 years old on 23 April.

The press coverage for Turner Contemporary, the Bank of England and Margate following the event has been phenomenal with international, national and regional interest across media.

Support our tomorrow #20forTurner