Scotland Releases Colorful Currency That Honors Scottish Women and Wildlife

orange and red colored scottish banknote featuring portrait of Mary Somerville

Portrait of scientist Mary Somerville on the front of the £10

The Royal Bank of Scotland has started the new decade off right with its release of a series of banknotes deemed Fabric of Nature. With artwork featured across their fronts and backs, each bill highlights a significant Scottish woman and an indigenous species of Scottish wildlife. The series was led by the Scottish design company Nile, in partnership with O Street, Timorous Beasties, Graven, and Stuco.

On the front, these colorful polymer bills honor the likes of author and poet Nan Shepherd, scientist Mary Somerville, and businesswoman and patron of the arts Kate Cranston with delicate portraits. The artwork illustrated across the bills' backs depicts Scottish fauna scenes of otters, mackerel, and squirrels at play.

“From the typography to the featured animals, to the bespoke textile backgrounds, every element of every note has a meaning connected with the people of Scotland. The notes are a cultural capture of what is important, and heart felt for us Scots,” the design company exclaims. The series of £5, £10, and £20 notes offer a beautiful display of national pride.

The IBNS Banknote of the Year Award, which acknowledges exceptional bill designs, has yet to release its nominations for the 2020 competition, but Scotland is sure to give other nations a run for their money this year. Aruba won the 2019 competition for its 100 Florin note and Canada took home the top prize the year before for its 10 dollar note.

UPDATE: Scotland's 20 Pound Note is now officially a nominee of the 2020 IBNS Banknote of the Year Award.

The Royal Bank of Scotland has unveiled a beautifully colorful series of banknotes.

orange and red colored scottish banknote featuring illustration of otters

Illustration of otters on the back of the £10

When put under UV light, the new banknotes reveal hidden colors and English translations of Gaelic poetry.

scottish banknote with illustration of two squirrels illuminated by UV light

Back of £20 banknote illuminated by UV light

blue colored scottish banknote with portrait of Nan Shepherd

Portrait of author and poet Nan Shepherd on the front of the £5

blue scottish banknote illustration of two mackerels

Illustration of mackerel on the back of the £5

Scotland joins the movement in celebrating inspiring women on their currency in 2020.

purple colored scottish banknote featuring portrait of Kate Cranston

Portrait of businesswoman Kate Cranston on the front of the £20

purple colored scottish banknote featuring illustration of two squirrels sitting on a treebranch

Illustration of squirrels on the back of the £20

Nile: Website | Instagram
h/t: [Colossal]

All images via Nile.

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Megan Cooper

Megan Cooper is a Contributing Writer for My Modern Met and a mid-century historian living in Charlotte, North Carolina. She has received a BSA in Public History from Appalachian State University in 2017 and is currently working towards finishing a Masters in Film and Media Studies through Arizona State University. She is extremely passionate about gender and women's studies and the democratization of cultural knowledge.
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