Painting a fortune: JMW Turner and the Bank of England

Research from the Bank of England Archive sheds light on the famous artist’s career and investments.

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We are temporarily closed but you can still explore our online collections. You can also visit our home learning hub and watch our brand new banknote workshop video.

Unfortunately, we are not yet able to reopen, unlike some museums. That’s because we have limited space which makes it very difficult to comply with social distancing rules.

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About the display

15 November 2019 to 31 July 2020

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) was a landscape and history painter. Throughout his career he produced an extensive catalogue of work and frequently exhibited at the Royal Academy. Recognised as a Romantic artist, his artworks include oil paintings, engravings and watercolours, with many now held for the nation at Tate Britain.

Turner used his artistic talent to amass a considerable fortune. Records of transactions found within the stock ledger collection from the Bank of England Archive show that his earliest investments of 3% Consols stock were made when he was just 18 years old.

Our new display uses entries from the stock ledgers, which record the accounts of stockholders, to provide an insight into Turner’s investments and the details around his transactions.

To coincide with JMW Turner featuring on the new £20 note, find out about the variety of stock purchases made by Turner in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, how these were processed, and what types of stock were popular at the time Turner was investing.

Discover Turner's London

Turner’s self-portrait appears on the new £20. He spent most of his life living and working in London. We’ve created a map to help you trace his footsteps.

This page was last updated 23 September 2020

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