Fashion designer Alexander McQueen, author and illustrator Beatrix Potter and Gerry Anderson, creator of the science-fiction puppet show Thunderbirds, are among hundreds of figures from the art world nominated to appear on the new £20 note.
For the first time the Bank of England asked for the public’s opinion on who should appear on the note – 436 eligible contenders emerged from around 19,000 nominations. The two-month public nomination period closed on Sunday.
Among the nominees to replace economist Adam Smith on the £20 note, who must come from the world of visual arts and no longer be alive, are comic actor Charlie Chaplin and Welsh fashion designer Laura Ashley.
Film director Alfred Hitchcock, whose works include The Birds and Psycho, and wax sculptor Marie Tussaud are also among the contenders.
Bank of England officials will now draw up a shortlist of three to five names. Its governor, Mark Carney, will make the final decision which will be announced in spring 2016, alongside a concept image showing the portrait as it will appear on the note.
Chief cashier Victoria Cleland said: “The fact that so many visual artists have been put forward underlines the extent of British achievement in the visual arts and reinforces why this field deserves to be recognised on the next £20 note.”
Among the 436 nominations, only 90 are women.
In July 2013, Jane Austen was confirmed as the next face of the £10 note in a victory for campaigners demanding female representation – aside from the Queen – on the country’s cash.
The announcement to place Austen on the £10 note was aimed at quelling a three-month storm of protest unleashed when the former Bank governor, Sir Meryvn King, announced that the only woman to appear on an English banknote other than the Queen – the prison reformer Elizabeth Fry – would be replaced by Winston Churchill, probably in 2016.
Other female nominees for the £20 note include dressmaker Jean Muir, ceramic artist Jessie Tait and sculptor Barbara Hepworth.
However, the list is dominated by men, including film director Anthony Minghella, sculptor Henry Moore, actors Laurence Olivier and Richard Attenborough, comedian Mel Smith and documentary maker Tim Hetherington, who was killed in Libya in 2011 while covering the country’s civil war.
This article was written by Jamie Grierson, for theguardian.com on Monday 20th July 2015 11.40 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010