J.M.W Turner

Portrait of J.M.W.Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner was an English Romantic painter, printmaker and watercolourist. Known as William Turner in his lifetime he is best known for his colour work and large expressive landscapes. He was born in Covent Garden, London on 23rd April, 1775 and died in Chelsea, London on 19th December 1851 aged 76.

Major Works

“The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up”. (1839).
“Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth” (1842) 
“Rain, Steam, and Speed – The Great Western Railway” (1844)

Biography Timeline

Joseph Mallord William Turner was born on 23rd April 1775 at 21 Maiden Lane in Covent Garden, London, England. He was the son of a barber and wig-maker from the provinces. He studied at the Royal Academy Schools in London from the age of 14.

1793: He is awarded the Greater Silver Palette by the Society of Arts.

1799: He is elected as an Associate of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

1800: He publishes some poetry which was originally intended to complement his exhibits at the Royal Academy. He often stays with his patron Lord Egremont at Petworth House and lodges in many London taverns around this period.

1802: He is elected a full Member of the Royal Academy. He visits the Louvre in Paris for the first time to see the paintings looted from abroad by Napoleon.

1804: He sets up his own gallery in his home at Harley Street, London.

1807: He is appointed as a Professor at the Royal Academy (of Perspective).

1811: He makes a trip to Italy and is impressed by the landscape.

1814: He helps set up the Artist’s General Benevolent Institution.

1823: He is commissioned to paint “The Battle of Trafalgar” by St. James’s Palace.

1831: He makes an extensive visit to Scotland.

1832: He travels to France and meets the famous artist Paul Delacroix in Paris.

1834: He tours Germany.

1837: He resigns his teaching post at the Royal Academy in London.

1840: He meets the critic John Ruskin who admires his work greatly and who inspires him to visit Venice.

1844: He makes the acquaintance of Charles Dickens and again makes a visit to Switzerland and Germany.

1845: He is appointed the Acting President of the Royal Academy.

1846: He takes lodgings with his mistress Sophia Caroline Booth at 118-19 Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, London and lives out the rest of his days as a virtual recluse under the assumed name of Admiral Booth.

1850: He exhibits for the last time at the Royal Academy.

Joseph Mallord William Turner died on 19th December 1851, at Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London, England of cholera and is buried in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Further Information

For more information see Britain Unlimited’s page on Turner here.

Examples of paintings by Turner.