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J. M. W. Turner

Romantic Painter J. M. W. Turner

Full Name: Joseph Mallord William Turner
Profession: Romantic Painter


Biography: Joseph Turner was born the son of a barber in Covent Garden, London who rose to be the preeminent painter of his day and the greatest landscape painter of the 19th century. Regarded as a child prodigy, he entered the Royal Academy schools at 14 and exhibited soon after.

Although Turner's early work was mostly topographical, he soon began to produce more poetic and imaginative works. In 1796 he exhibited his first oil painting at the Royal Academy "Fishermen at Sea". In 1799 he was elected an associate of the Royal Academy at 24, the youngest accepted age.

By 1804 Turner was a successful artist exhibiting his pictures in his own gallery in London. He had developed a pattern of touring during the summer where he sketched in open air, working in his studio in winter. He toured the country and later the European continent regularly throughout his career sketching material.

Turner became famous for his romantic treatment of a subject and for his use of color and light. He is particularly remembered for his marine subjects such as The Dort Packet Boat from Rotterdam Becalmed (1817–18). Turner also painted considerable historical subjects, often taken from scenes by famous authors such as Lord Byron or Walter Scott. Turner's later works became ever more fluid and abstract as he retreated from the world into a secluded, reclusive life.

On his death Turner left many of his paintings to The National Gallery in London and per his wishes a separate wing was eventually opened to show his works in 1987. He is buried in St Paul's Cathedral near Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Born: April 23, 1775
Birthplace: Covent Garden, London, England
Star Sign: Taurus

Died: December 19, 1851 (aged 76)
Cause of Death: Cholera

Historical Events

  • 1980-05-29 JMW Turner's "Juliet & Her Nurse" sold for $6,400,000 in NYC
  • 2020-02-20 New Bank of England £20 note with painter JMW Turner released, replacing earlier one with economist Adam Smith

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