art Mallord William Turner, RA (baptised 14 May 1775 - 19 December 1851) was an English Romanticist landscape painter. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting.
Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting. He is commonly known as "the painter of light".
The house in Maiden Lane where Turner was born, c.1850s
art Mallord William Turner was baptised on 14 May 1775, but his date of birth is unknown. It is generally believed he was born between late April and early May. Turner himself claimed he was born on 23 April, but there is no proof.He was born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, in London, England.His father, William Turner (1745–21 September 1829), was a barber and wig maker.His mother, Mary art, came from a family of butchers.A younger sister, Mary Ann, was born in September 1778 but died in August 1783.
Drawing of St John's Church, Margate by Turner from around 1786, when he would have been 11 or 12 years old. The ambitious but unsure drawing shows an early struggle with perspective, which can be contrasted with his later work
A View of the Archbishop's Palace, Lambeth – this watercolour was Turner's first to be accepted for the Royal Academy's annual exhibition in April 1790, the month he turned 15. The image is a technical presentation of Turner's strong grasp of the arts of perspective with several buildings at sharp angles to each other, demonstrating Turner's thorough mastery of Thomas Malton's topographical style.
Fishermen at Sea exhibited in 1796 was the first oil painting exhibited by Turner at the Royal Academy
Modern Rome – Campo Vaccino
Bonneville, Savoy (1803) Dallas Museum of Art, oil on canvas 92 x 123 cm
In 1785, due to his mother showing signs of the mental disturbance for which she was admitted first to St Luke's Hospital for Lunatics in Old Street in 1799 and then Bethlem Hospital in 1800,the young Turner was sent to stay with his maternal uncle, art Mallord William art, in Brentford, then a small town on the banks of the River Thames west of London. The earliest known artistic exercise by Turner is from this period - a series of simple colourings of engraved plates from Henry Boswell's Picturesque View of the Antiquities of England and Wales.Around 1786, Turner was sent to Margate on the north-east Kent coast. Here he produced a series of drawings of the town and surrounding area foreshadowing his later work. Turner returned to Margate many times in later life. By this time, Turner's drawings were being exhibited in his father's shop window and sold for a few shillings.His father boasted to the artist Thomas Stothard that: "My son, sir, is going to be a painter."In 1789, Turner again stayed with his uncle who had retired to Sunningwell in Berkshire (now part of Oxfordshire). A whole sketchbook of work from this time in Berkshire survives as well as a watercolour of Oxford. The use of pencil sketches on location, as the foundation for later finished paintings, formed the basis of Turner's essential working style for his whole career.
Many early sketches by Turner were architectural studies and/or exercises in perspective, and it is known that, as a young man, he worked for several architects including Thomas Hardwick, James Wyatt and art Bonomi the Elder. By the end of 1789, he had also begun to study under the topographical draughtsman Thomas Malton whom Turner would later call "My real master." He entered the Royal Academy of Art schools in 1789, when he was 14 years old, and was accepted into the academy a year later. Sir Joshua Reynolds, president of the Royal Academy, chaired the panel that admitted him. At first Turner showed a keen interest in architecture, but was advised by the architect Thomas Hardwick to continue painting. His first watercolour painting A View of the Archbishop's Palace, Lambeth was accepted for the Royal Academy summer exhibition of 1790 when Turner was 15.
As a probationer in the academy, he was taught drawing from plaster casts of antique sculptures. From July 1790 to October 1793, his name appears in the registry of the academy over a hundred times.In June 1792, he was admitted to the life class to learn to draw the human body from nude models. Turner exhibited watercolours each year at the academy while painting in the winter and travelling in the summer widely throughout Britain, particularly to Wales, where he produced a wide range of sketches for working up into studies and watercolours. These particularly focused on architectural work, which utilised his skills as a draughtsman. In 1793, he showed the watercolour titled The Rising Squall – Hot Wells from St Vincent's Rock Bristol (now lost), which foreshadowed his later climatic effects.[Cunningham in his obituary of Turner wrote that it was: "recognised by the wiser few as a noble attempt at lifting landscape art out of the tame insipidities...evinced for the first time that mastery of effect for which he is now justly celebrated."
In 1796, Turner exhibited Fishermen at Sea, his first oil painting at the academy of a nocturnal moonlit scene of the Needles off the Isle of Wight. The image of boats in peril contrasts the cold light of the moon with the firelight glow of the fishermen's lantern.Wilton said that the image: "Is a summary of all that had been said about the sea by the artists of the 18th century.” and shows strong influence by artists such as Claude art Vernet, Philip James de Loutherbourg, Peter Monamy and Francis Swaine, who was admired for his moonlight marine paintings. This particular painting cannot be said to show any influence of Willem van de Velde the Younger, as not a single nocturnal scene is known by that painter. Some later work, however, as shown below, was created to rival or complement the manner of the Dutch artist. The image was praised by contemporary critics and founded Turner's reputation, as both an oil painter and a painter of maritime scenes.
Turner travelled widely in Europe, starting with France and Switzerland in 1802 and studying in the Louvre in Paris in the same year. He made many visits to Venice. On a visit to Lyme Regis, in Dorset, he painted a stormy scene (now in the Cincinnati Art Museum).
Important support for his work came from Walter Ramsden Fawkes, of Farnley Hall, near Otley in Yorkshire, who became a close friend of the artist. Turner first visited Otley in 1797, aged 22, when commissioned to paint watercolours of the area. He was so attracted to Otley and the surrounding area that he returned to it throughout his career. The stormy backdrop of Hannibal Crossing The Alps is reputed to have been inspired by a storm over the Chevin in Otley while he was staying at Farnley Hall.
Turner was a frequent guest of George O'Brien Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont, at Petworth House in West Sussex and painted scenes that Egremont funded taken from the grounds of the house and of the Sussex countryside, including a view of the Chichester Canal. Petworth House still displays a number of paintings.
As Turner grew older, he became more eccentric. He had few close friends except for his father, who lived with him for 30 years and worked as his studio assistant. His father's death in 1829 had a profound effect on him, and thereafter he was subject to bouts of depression. He never married but had a relationship with an older widow, Sarah Danby. He is believed to have been the father of her two daughters born in 1801 and 1811.
Later he had a relationship with Sophia Caroline Booth, after her second husband died, living for about 18 years as 'Mr Booth' in her house in Chelsea.
Like many of the day, Turner was a habitual user of snuff; in 1838 the King of France, Louis-Philippe, presented a gold snuff box to him.Of two other snuffboxes, an agate and silver example bears Turner's name, and another, made of wood, was collected along with his spectacles, magnifying glass and card case by an associate housekeeper.
Turner died in the house of his lover Sophia Caroline Booth in Cheyne Walk in Chelsea on 19 December 1851, and is said to have uttered the last words "The Sun is God".At his request he was buried in St Paul's Cathedral, where he lies next to Sir Joshua Reynolds. His last exhibition at the Royal Academy was in 1850.
Turner's friend, architect Philip Hardwick (1792–1870), son of his tutor, Thomas Hardwick, was in charge of making the funeral arrangements and wrote to those who knew Turner to tell them at the time of his death that, "I must inform you, we have lost him." Other executors were his cousin and chief mourner at the funeral, Henry Harpur IV (benefactor of Westminster – now Chelsea & Westminster – Hospital), Revd. Henry Scott Trimmer, George Jones RA and Charles Turner ARA.
Dutch Boats in a Gale (1801), art Mallord William Turner
Dutch Boats in a Gale (1801), art Mallord William Turner
Dutch Fishing Boats in a Storm or A Rising Gale (1672)
Dutch Fishing Boats in a Storm or A Rising Gale (1672), Willem van de Velde the Younger
For his painting Turner drew inspiration from the art of Willem van de Velde the Younger.
One of Turner's most successful "house portraits": Raby Castle, the Seat of the Earl of artton The Walters Art Museum.
Turner's talent was recognised early in his life. Financial independence allowed Turner to innovate freely; his mature work is characterised by a chromatic palette and broadly applied atmospheric washes of paint. According to David Piper's The Illustrated History of Art, his later pictures were called "fantastic puzzles." Turner was recognised as an artistic genius: influential English art critic John Ruskin described him as the artist who could most "stirringly and truthfully measure the moods of Nature."
Suitable vehicles for Turner's imagination were found in shipwrecks, fires (such as the burning of Parliament in 1834, an event which Turner rushed to witness first-hand, and which he transcribed in a series of watercolour sketches), natural catastrophes, and natural phenomena such as sunlight, storm, rain, and fog. He was fascinated by the violent power of the sea, as seen in Dawn after the Wreck (1840) and The Slave Ship (1840).
Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour's Mouth, 1842
Turner's major venture into printmaking was the Liber Studiorum (Book of Studies), seventy prints that he worked on from 1806 to 1819. The Liber Studiorum was an expression of his intentions for landscape art. The idea was loosely based on Claude Lorrain's Liber Veritatis (Book of Truth), where Claude had recorded his completed paintings; a series of print copies of these drawings, by then at Devonshire House, had been a huge publishing success. Turner's plates were meant to be widely disseminated, and categorised the genre into six types: Marine, Mountainous, Pastoral, Historical, Architectural, and Elevated or Epic Pastoral. His printmaking was a major part of his output, and a museum is devoted to it, the Turner Museum in Sarasota, Florida, founded in 1974 by Douglass Montrose-Graem to house his collection of Turner prints.