Irish artist Francis Bacon could feature on new £20 note

Irish artist Francis Bacon could feature on new £20 note

ONE of Ireland’s most prolific artists is one of the front-runners to appear on Britain’s new £20 note.

Francis Bacon, who was born in Dublin and raised in Britain, is on the longlist of prominent visual artists who are in the running for the honour.

Of the 436 names on the longlist, Bacon is the only Irishman. If he is selected, Bacon will replace Scottish philosopher Adam Smith on the back of the note, while Queen Elizabeth II will remain on the front.

Bacon’s paintings have become increasingly valuable in recent years – with two of his self-portraits recently selling for £30 million in a London auction.

He is perhaps best known for his painting of his friend Lucian Freud, which set a new world record price for an art auction when it sold for $142.4 million in 2013.

The record was later broken by a Picasso painting which sold for $160m.

Freud himself also appears on the longlist.

The next step in whittling down the list will see public focus groups work with the banks to narrow it down to between three and five possibilities.

But the final say will go to the Governor of the Bank of England with an announcement expected in early 2016.

The note will be put into circulation by 2020.