Queen Elizabeth II; William Shakespeare (on verso)

1 portrait matching these criteria:

- subject matching 'Group portraits'
- 'Image on website'

Art Fund Popular Portraits Collection. Photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Queen Elizabeth II; William Shakespeare (on verso)

after Harry Norman Eccleston, after William Kent
steel engraved currency note, 1970-1991
3 1/2 in. x 6 3/8 in. (90 mm x 161 mm) paper size
Purchased with help from the Art Fund, 2019
Reference Collection
NPG D48662

Sittersback to top

Artistsback to top

  • Harry Norman Eccleston (1923-2010), Artist and engraver. Artist or producer associated with 1 portrait.
  • William Kent (1685?-1748), Architect, painter and landscape gardener. Artist or producer associated with 5 portraits, Sitter associated with 8 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Shakespeare was the first historical figure other than the monarch to appear on a British bank note, reflecting his status as a figurehead who was visually synonymous with the nation. The image used on the note was based on his memorial sculpture at Westminster Abbey. This £20 note was first issued in 1970 and was legal tender until 1993.

Events of 1970back to top

Current affairs

Edward 'Ted' Heath wins a surprise victory for the Conservative party at the general election, becoming Prime Minister. Opinion polls had predicted a comfortable Labour victory, but with a failing economy, the Tories snatched a narrow last minute majority.

Art and science

Germaine Greer publishes The Female Eunuch, an influential feminist text arguing that women's sexuality and capacity for action are repressed by the family and their roles in society. Greer suggested that women should get to know their bodies and become empowered by their sexuality. The book was an international best seller.


Four aircraft are hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. The planes were landed in Cairo, Jordan and London and the hijackers demanded the release of Political Prisoners in exchange for the hostages. Several prisoners were returned and three of the planes were blown up after most of the hostages were release.
Four students are shot dead by national guardsmen during a protest against the Vietnam War in America.

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