The Royal Bank of Scotland has revealed the design of its new polymer £20 note, featuring historic Glasgow entrepreneur Kate Cranston.
The note, unveiled at Mackintosh at the Willow tearoom, will be the first Scottish £20 banknote to feature a woman other than the Queen on its front.
Designed in partnership with Scottish arts’ organisations and designers including Graven Images, Nile, Stucco, Timrous Beasties, O’Street and the Glasgow School of Art, the note will enter circulation in 2020.
Kate Cranston made her mark for her series of tearooms across Glasgow.
The Willow Tearoom on Sauchiehall Street was her flagship venue and is celebrated by architects and designers due to the interior designed by legendary Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
The tearooms made a cultural impact by providing venues where women could enter unchaperoned.
Following her death in 1934, Cranston’s fortune was left to support the poor and the homeless in the city.
The £20 is the third in a series of ‘Fabric of Nature’ themed notes made from a De La Rue’s Safeguard polymer material and will also contain a variety of new security features.
Speaking at the launch, Royal Bank of Scotland’s Scottish board chair Malcolm Buchanan, said: “At Royal Bank of Scotland, we feel that a banknote’s value is more than just the figure printed across its front – it is our symbol which lives in people’s pockets and touches everyday lives.
“Kate Cranston’s legacy touches so many aspects of Scottish life that we, as a nation, are justifiably proud; entrepreneurialism, art, philanthropy and dedication.
“As such, it is fitting that such a figure as Kate Cranston will be celebrated on the face of our most popular note.”
In keeping with the Fabric of Nature theme, the new £20 features illustrations of red squirrels on its reverse and the blaeberry fruit.
It also includes extracts from 16th-century Scottish poet Mark Alexander Boyd’s work, Cupid and Venus.
The new note will carry the same exclusive weave pattern developed by textile designers Alistair McDade and Elspeth Anderson for the £5 and £10 polymer notes.
The red squirrels on a tree illustration for the £20 follow mackerel in the sea on the £5, to otters on the shore for the £10.
Neil Wallace, director of designer O’Street, added: “The Royal Bank polymer bank notes have been designed as a series.
“As well as looking beautiful on their own, it was important that they worked together as a set. With notes from multiple banks in circulation in the UK, we wanted the people of Scotland to easily recognise the Royal Bank notes.
“We wanted folk to engage with the design and by doing so become familiar with the storytelling and history woven into it.”
Celia Sinclair, chair of the Willow Tea Room Trust, said: “We are delighted that the image of Kate Cranston is on the Royal Bank of Scotland £20 note.
“She was a very interesting and intelligent woman, an excellent businesswoman who changed attitudes.
“The Salon de Luxe, the centrepiece of Mackintosh at the Willow, was a symbol of social change in Glasgow where women began to socialise outside the home.”
The existing paper note features a portrait of Lord Ilay, the first governor of Royal Bank of Scotland. The reverse features an image of Brodick Castle.