The British Museum's Turners to get the NFT treatment

January 11 2022

Image of The British Museum's Turners to get the NFT treatment

Picture: The British Museum

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

There have been several stories in the press that The British Museum will be offering a selection of their Turners to be purchased as NFTs. The works will be part of a group of twenty paintings transformed into NFTs from the Robert Wylie Lloyd collection. Lloyd (d.1958), a former chairman of Christie's, put rather stringent rules on the bequest including the fact that they may never be loaned out.

What exactly do you get if you buy one of these NFTs? My favourite quotation from the The Times article is as follows:

A selection of JMW Turner’s paintings is being sold by the museum as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which act like digital certificates of ownership for physical or virtual assets and are purchased with cryptocurrencies. 

However, the owners of these certificates will have no ownership of the physical artworks, nor be allowed to touch them.


Of course, you can always just right click on Google images to have your very own high defition JPEG of Turner's Messieurs les voyageurs on their return from Italy (pictured).

The current obsession with digital currencies and NFTs recently brought to mind Hogarth's famous depiction of The South Sea Scheme. I wonder which of these digital artists will capture the inevitable downfall that this curious speculation will surely bring.

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