Bank of England turns to Snap AR Lens for new £20 note launch

Alyssa Clementi

Today, The Bank of England, The National Gallery, and Snap has collaborated to launch a new augmented reality experience centered around the release of artist JMW Turner’s personalized £20 note. The note features a self-portrait of Turner, who is regarded as the “father of modern art” and displays his famous creation, The Fighting Temeraire, in the background.

The £20 Turner note is set to go into circulation today, released by the Bank of England. Brits lucky enough to get their hands on the note can unlock the AR lens by pointing their Snapchat camera at the Snapcode. Once the lens is unlocked, users just need to hover their cameras over the £20 note, and a live version of the note’s artwork will pop up, along with sound effects.

For those who don’t have access to the new £20 note, the currency will be on display starting today at The National Gallery in Room 34, where visitors can take advantage of the AR experience. Additionally, the Snapchat lens will work on pictures of the note.

“The launch of the new £20 will result in Turner’s paintings being amongst the most widely distributed artworks in the UK, maybe even the world,” said Ed Couchman, Snap’s UK general manager. “We want to make sure that Snapchatters are encouraged to take note, look at the cash in their wallet and appreciate these great paintings. Hopefully this partnership will help introduce a whole new generation to one of Britain’s greatest ever painters.”

“We’re incredibly excited to launch the new polymer £20 note today and are pleased to be partnering with Snapchat to bring the note to life in an entirely novel way,” commented Sarah John, Bank of England chief cashier. “Turner is one of the most influential British artists and we’re now bringing his art to the pockets of people all over the UK. I hope the public will enjoy using, and snapping, their Turner £20s.”