In 2020 a new £20 note will be released in the United Kingdom. The plastic note will feature an image of J. M. W. Turner, the beloved English painter from the nineteenth century. However, according to recent polls, the British public isn’t happy with this choice. In fact, they would much prefer to have someone more current be the face on the new version of the note.
Having grown up listening to him narrating countless nature documentaries, it’s no wonder that Brits think of Sir David Attenborough as Britain’s granddad. So, when the results of a recent survey showed that 40% of the people who participated want to see the 91-year old on the new note, no-one was particularly surprised.
The campaign was created online by Rich Grundy, with the purpose of collecting signatures to replace Turner’s image with that of Attenborough. Explaining his reasoning, the creator has stated, “With his tireless conservation work, he would act as a constant reminder to the public to make ‘ethical’ money choices every single day.
“It is, surely, our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth.”
Attenborough won 40% of the 2,128 votes, blowing out other famous figures such as Prince Charles (second place, 7% of the votes), Harry Potter writer, J. K. Rowling (4%), the archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (3%) and human rights activist Anita Roddick (3%). The list of 15 ‘ethical champions’ also featured popular British chef, Jamie Oliver.
Credit: Bank of England
The design for the £20 note looks pretty good with Turner’s face on it. But it would look much better if it was Attenborough.
Turner’s painting The Fighting Temeraire is considered to be the favorite of the British nation. That explains why he was chosen. According to the Bank of England’s representative, Mark Carney, “Turner is perhaps the single most influential British artist of all time. His work was transformative for the art world. His influence spanned his lifetime and well beyond.”
However, Attenborough’s work spans all our lifetimes. It is timeless. It teaches us of the importance of nature, how we must take care of the environment, stop the destruction, and save the endangered species before it is too late.
Sir David Attenborough is now 91, and his voice is etched into the minds of so many across the world. The London-born naturalist was knighted in 1985 and is widely regarded as a national treasure in Britain. He, more than anyone, deserves to be immortalized. But, if this petition fails, there is always the chance that his face will grace the £50 note, when it’s updated to plastic.at some point in the future.