Colin Chapman: A Man of Note


It was reported in City Am [–capitalist] Tuesday 21 July and Daily Mail, 22nd, July that the Bank of England sought public nominations for the image to appear on the replacement £20 note.

The Bank chose the theme of “visual arts” and set the condition that the individual:-

  • Be dead
  • Not “unduly divisive”

It’s reported that 30,000 entries were made and this represented approximately 400-600 submissions.

Amongst those suggested were:-

  • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Marie Tussaud
  • Colin Chapman
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Beatrix Potter
  • Laura Ashley
  • Gerry Anderson
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Michael Winner
  • Tony Hart
  • Mel Smith
  • Tony Scott

The editors can understand the individuals suggested against the criteria adopted. Of course the term “visual arts” can be widely interpreted and Britain has rich heritage of artists, designers and film makers that might fit the bill.

Colin Chapman /Lotus are a natural inclusion from the perspective of:-

  • Visual iconography of his road racing car designs
  • His consultancy and related industrial design
  • The significance and indelible monogram that appears on Lotus cars
  • The international recognition of the Lotus logo remaining relevant and contemporary

As a play on words if we contemplate Colin Chapman appearing on a distinguished bank note we might define him as a notable individual in fact :-

  • Great
  • Famous
  • Pre eminent
  • Renowned
  • Acclaimed
  • Prominent
  • Celebrated
  • Recognized
  • Distinguished
  • Exceptional
  • Outstanding

It’s unlikely that Chapman will be selected, as it’s possibly that a female candidate will be considered desirable and appropriate. However it would be in Britain’s economic interests looking to the future particularly as Lotus are developing a SUV and will probably enter the Asian market.

Furthermore it would not be totally unacceptable and a president has been set with Lotus cars having appeared on British stamps [see A&R “The Stamp of Approval”]

Although Stirling Moss might have a more appropriate name for a British currency, Chapman and Lotus are assured to remain in circulation for a long time ……….You can Bank on it.

Exhibitions, Education and Economics

In the museum context the editors believe that commercial considerations are both necessary and complementary with its educational objectives.

For these reasons our suggested outline Business Plan includes provision for promoting products and services which share Chapman’s ideals of mechanical efficiency and sustainability. In addition we propose merchandising that explain and interprets the social and cultural context of Chapman’s designs in period. It’s suggested there will be catalogue for on line purchasing.

From time to time it’s important to review and reevaluate historical achievement, and there is the possibility of running competitions with public participation supported with exhibitions to assist assimilation and examination of the evidence. Such competitions and exhibitions sit well with benchmarking and lend themselves to educational interpretation.

Furthermore they provide an opportunity to examine Chapman as designer and thereby in a wider context that has been generally assigned to him.