The merchant and philanphropist John Julius Angerstein was born in St Petersburg in 1735 to a German family who had settled in Russia. He emigrated to England in about 1749.
Over time he became friends with many of the most prominent men of the day. This list included
- King George III
- William Pitt the Younger (Prime Minister)
- Nelson (naval hero)
- Samuel Johnson (writer)
- David Garrick (actor and playwright)
Artist friends included Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Sir Thomas Lawrence who considered Angerstein a father-figure. Angerstein was a patron to Lawrence and David Wilkie among others.
He amassed a fortune partly from income generated by his large slave estates in Grenada and partly from a career in the City of London. He helped to develop Lloyd’s as a great insurance house, becoming its chairman between 1790 and 1796.