This publication accompanies an exhibition held at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts
to mark the bicentenary of Matthew Boulton’s death (1728-1809). Boulton was an internationally
significant industrialist whose introduction of innovative minting practices helped
accelerate the growth of modern cash economies world-wide.
At the Soho Manufactory, just outside Birmingham, Boulton established an international
team of engineers and artists who designed, produced, and distributed nearly 600
million coins between 1787 and 1809. This book explores how and why the Soho Mint
made high quality images available to such vast national and international audiences
and, in the process, briefly rendered Birmingham ‘the art capital of the world’.
Boulton was a prominent intellectual, a valued civic leader, and played a key role
in developing the steam engines that powered industrialisation. But, his proudest
achievement was the way in which the art of making money was mastered at the Soho