William Turner: Painter and Shareholder

Turners stock accounts, courtesy of the Bank of England Archive.
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We tend to think that painters and other artists were bad with money. Their works, realising staggering sums in auctions today, were sometimes not enough to ensure the daily bread for them back then. It seems like this was not at all the case with Britain’s most famous romantic painter, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851). He invested the money he made with his paintings in the stock market and made good profits with it.

An Exhibition of the Bank of England, titled “Painting a fortune: JMW Turner and the Bank of England” is currently presenting this industrious side of the painter. It shows the original stock accounts of Turner from the archive. The appraisal of these records revealed that Turner started investing in stocks when he was just 18 years old!

The Exhibition runs until 31 July 2020. It thus coincides with the launch of the new £20 Banknote on 20th February 2020, which will feature the portrait of the painter.


For further information on the new banknote with Turner on it, visit the website of the Bank of England.

There you will also find more information on the display.