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Selling What All The World Desires

The eighteenth century designer, inventor and industrialist Matthew Boulton was a consummate businessman, and co-founder of the influential Lunar Society. Now, on the bicentenary of his death, this book surveys his life and extraordinarily varied achievements.


The book explains how Boulton, a Birmingham 'toy' maker producing buttons, buckles and silverware, went into business with James Watt, and exported Boulton and Watt steam engines all over the world. Meanwhile his magnificent ormolou ornaments decorated aristocratic drawing rooms, and his determination to discourage counterfeiters led to a contract to manufacture British coinage, and coins of other countries, at his mint.


Boulton was leader of the campaign to establish the Birming Assay Office - currently the world's largest - and was at the heart of the Lunar Society, a group of prominent industrialists, natural philosophers and intellectuals interested in scientific and social change.


Matthew Boulton: Selling What All The World Desires is a compendium of articles by a number of well known writers in the field, telling the story of the times, and is the catalogue of the treasures which appear in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery's Matthew Boulton Exhibition.


MATTHEW BOULTON: Selling What All The World Desires

Edited by Shena Mason

Published 2009 by Birmingham City Council in association with Yale University Press.

IBSN 978-0-300-14358-4