J. M. W. Turner

John Florens | Dec 20, 2023

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, better known as William Turner or by his initials J. M. W. Turner, was a British painter, watercolorist, and printmaker, born around April 23, 1775 in London where he died on December 19, 1851.

Initially in the English Romantic vein, his work is marked by a daring innovative research that makes him considered, with his contemporary John Constable, as a precursor of Impressionism.

Renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest English masters of watercolor landscapes. He earned the nickname "painter of light". The majority of Turner's works are held at the Tate Britain.

Birth and family

William Turner has such a mania for secrecy that his date of birth is uncertain. He himself claims the date of April 23, 1775, which is the feast day of St. George and the supposed birthday of William Shakespeare, but this claim has never been verified. His will also indicates a wish that on this date a commemorative dinner be given at the Royal Academy. The first date that historians know for sure is his baptism on May 14, 1775 at St. Paul's Church in the Covent Garden district of London. He was born at 21 Maiden Lane in Covent Garden and his three first names are those of his maternal uncle.

William Turner was the son of a barber and wigmaker, William Gay Turner (1745-1829), who had his store near St. Paul's Church, on the first floor of his house at No. 21 in a dark alley called Maiden Lane. Her mother, Mary Marshall, came from a butcher's family and gradually lost her mind, entering St. Luke's Hospital for Lunatics in 1799 and the Bethlem Royal Hospital the following year. One of the reasons for her madness was probably the death of William's younger sister, Mary Ann, who was born in September 1778 and died in August 1784 before she was six years old. Although relations with his mother were difficult, it seems that, despite this context, Turner's childhood was "warm". He observed the boats that docked on the Thames, and rubbed shoulders with the many artists who lived in the popular district of Covent Garden.


Because of his supposedly poor health following the death of his sister Mary Anne, and because his mother's illness worsened, young Turner was sent to live with a maternal uncle in Brentford, a small town on the banks of the Thames in Middlesex, west of London, at the age of 10 in 1785. It was probably in Brentford that his interest in drawing and painting was awakened. Turner's earliest known artistic exercise is from this period; it is a series of simple colorings of engravings from Henry Boswell's Picturesque View of the Antiquities of England and Wales.

The following year, 1786, he followed his uncle and was sent to Margate, Kent, on the North Sea. From this time on, he began to produce drawings that his father displayed in his shop window and sold for a few shillings. It was also at this time that he began to sign his work. In Margate he produced a series of drawings of the town and surrounding area that foreshadowed his later work. In 1789 Turner returned to live with his uncle, who had retired to Sunningwell, then in Berkshire. A sketchbook from this period and a watercolor from Oxford attest to his artistic pursuits. The use of on-the-spot pencil sketches as the preliminary foundation for later completed paintings formed the basis of Turner's career-long working style.

Thanks to his father's support, he had the opportunity to work in Covent Garden as a print colorist for the engraver John Raphael Smith and the publisher Colnaghi was proud of his son's artistic abilities. He even boasted to the artist Thomas Stothard that his "son, sir, is going to be a painter. However, his interests are fixed on architecture and then landscape.

At the age of almost 14, he got his first job as a draftsman with the architect Thomas Hardwick. There he produced watercolours of the reconstruction of St. Mary's Church in Wanstead. Showing a keen interest in architecture, he also took courses in perspective and topography with the architectural draftsman Thomas Malton the Younger, his "true master" according to him. He became fascinated with the "topographical landscape" which was in vogue in Great Britain and made it the core of his technique.

Entry to the Royal Academy

Encouraged by the artist John Francis Rigaud, he entered the school of the Royal Academy on December 11, 1789, at the age of only 14, after an essay. This was a classic path for artists of his time, although it was later distinguished by the precociousness of the artist's ascent. The Royal Academy offers free and high quality education. He rubbed shoulders with Joshua Reynolds, the first president of the Royal Academy, and his influence, at least in theory, was such that he mentioned it in his will.

Turner resided with his family at 26 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, a few blocks from his birthplace.

He was allowed to show watercolors at the Royal Academy's summer exhibition - including The Archbishop's Palace at Lambeth - although he had only been a student there for a year.

It was during this period, on his first trips outside of London, such as to his father's friend John Narraway in Bristol in 1791, and then to Bath and Malmesbury, that he realized the importance of making preliminary sketches before pursuing his work in the studio. He thus developed the habit of taking ideas outside in the summer and working in the studio in the winter. In 1792, Turner visited the Narraway family again and traveled to South Wales.

In 1792, he met the architect John Soane and W. F. Wells, two men who would remain close to the artist.

In 1793, Turner was awarded the "Greater Silver Palette" by the Royal Academy. He took advantage of the summer to visit Hereford and Tintern and the fall to visit Kent and Sussex.

In 1794, he travelled to the Midlands and North Wales. The same year, he met the artist Thomas Girtin.

In 1795, he went again to South Wales and visited the Isle of Wight. In the same year he received a commission from John Landseer and Richard Colt Hoare.

In a rather rigorous style, he exhibited his first oil painting, Fishermen at Sea, at the Royal Academy in 1796. This marine painting of a night scene off the Needles of the Isle of Wight is both realistic in the effect of the moon and its reflections on the sea and romantic in its atmosphere. It is also striking because of its strong contrast. According to the curator Andrew Wilton, this painting is "a summary of all that had been said about the sea by the artists of the eighteenth century" and shows a strong influence of artists such as Horace Vernet, Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg, Peter Monamy or Francis Swaine. The oil on canvas was acclaimed by contemporary critics and established Turner's reputation as both an oil painter and a marine painter.

It is also from this year, 1796, that he exhibited every year at the Royal Academy, until the end of his life. In all, two hundred and sixty watercolors and paintings were exhibited by Turner at this event. Also in 1796, he went to Brighton.

In 1797, he visited the North of England, the Lake District and Harewood in Yorkshire to work for Edward Lascelles.

In 1798, he visited Kent with the Reverend Robert Nixon and Stephen Peter Rigaud, then Wales again. Still in 1798, he decided to do everything to become a member of the Royal Academy. If his talent was already recognized, his youth was an obstacle. He had to campaign to obtain the favors of the members of the institution.

In 1799, he was recommended to the diplomat Thomas Bruce to be his draftsman in Greece, but Turner did not accept the conditions and the Italian Giovanni Battista Lusieri was chosen instead. In August and September, he worked for the writer William Thomas Beckford who bought several topographical works from him for his abbey in Fonthill, then in October, he visited again North Wales, then the village of Knockholt, he was finally elected associate member on November 4. Beyond the prestige, it was an opportunity for him to give his letters of nobility to landscape painting, then a minor trend, contrary to the tradition of history painting.

Over time, he met his first patrons, such as Thomas Monro - a physician at the Bethlem Royal Hospital, who cared for Turner's mother - and by the end of the century, he had an abundant and established clientele.

An important supporter of his work was Walter Fawkes, of Farnley Hall near Otley in Yorkshire, of whom he became a close friend. Turner had visited Otley in 1797, when he was 22 years old, to paint watercolors of the area. He loved Otley and the area so much that he would return regularly throughout his career. The backdrop for Hannibal Crossing the Alps is said to have been inspired by a storm on the Chevin at Otley while he was at Farnley Hall.

The 1790s were marked by the influence of the landscape work of Richard Wilson, himself inspired by Claude Gellée. The painting Dolbadarn Castle, North Wales - used for his diploma - or Landscape with the Father of Psyche sacrificing to Apollo take up some of its characteristics.

Towards notoriety

From 1799-1800, he shared a studio with the painter John Thomas Serres.

In 1800, George Dance the Younger drew Turner's portrait.

That same year, Turner exhibited The Fifth Plague of Egypt at the Royal Academy. It is a work between history and landscape painting. The first owner of the painting was former client William Thomas Beckford and the sum paid - 150 guineas - helped establish Turner's reputation. The Fifth Wound of Egypt shows influences from the French painter Nicolas Poussin.

The Duke of Bridgewater Francis Egerton commissioned Turner in 1800 to paint Dutch Boats in a Storm as a counterpart to Boats on a Stormy Sea by Willem van de Velde the Younger. In England, Turner was a frequent guest of George Wyndham, 3rd Earl of Egremont, at Petworth House in Sussex, which led to a series of paintings.

In 1801, he visited the north of Scotland, the Lake District and Chester.

The consecration

His paintings, landscapes and seascapes of England, allowed Turner to quickly obtain a great reputation and thus this consecration. On February 10, 1802, Turner obtained the title of Royal Academician and his talent brought him recognition and comfort. From July to October 1802, after the peace of Amiens, he was financed to visit France, Savoy and Switzerland. In Paris, he visited the Louvre Museum and studied many paintings by masters such as Claude Gellée and Nicolas Poussin.

In 1803, the influential critic and amateur painter George Beaumont defended academic painting and thus became one of the most vehement critics of Turner's style.

In April 1804, he opened his own gallery at the corner of Harley Street and Queen Anne Street. He placed a peephole there to observe the public's reaction to his works. A few days before the opening, his mother died in the asylum.

The following year he stayed at Syon Park House Estate in Isleworth, a suburb of London, and visited the Thames by boat, sketching watercolors and oils of the surrounding nature. In December, he worked on a sketch of the HMS Victory when he returned to the Medway after the Battle of Trafalgar. This battle pitted the Franco-Spanish fleet under the command of Vice Admiral Pierre Charles Silvestre de Villeneuve against the British fleet under the command of Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson. Nelson was killed, but his tactics earned the British a total victory despite their numerical inferiority and, with two thirds of the Franco-Spanish ships destroyed, Napoleon I had to give up all hope of conquering the United Kingdom. It was therefore one of the turning points of the Napoleonic Wars, which also confirmed British supremacy on the seas. The artist dealt with this battle in several famous works.

In 1806, he went to Knockholt in Kent and worked, in collaboration with the black manner engraver Charles Turner (to whom he was not related), on a collection of prints, Liber Studiorum, whose first plates were published in 1807.

In 1807 he was elected professor of perspective at the Royal Academy. Until 1828, he presented several lectures per year. He tried to transmit his taste for landscape paintings to his students. He relied on a series of "diagrams", such as diagram no. 26 which shows the Interior of the Great Hall of Somerset House, and diagram no. 76 which represents the interior of the mausoleum at Brocklesby Park, near Crowle, Lincolnshire.

Turner bought land in Twickenham in 1807 and built Sandycombe Lodge there from 1812. In the meantime, in 1810, he moved to a house that he had built at 47 Queen Anne Street. He lived in this house, studio and gallery until 1846. In its later years, the house - now demolished - was noticed to be in a particularly dilapidated state.

In 1808, Turner painted in Cassiobury Park in Watford and then in Spithead for the return of the fleet that participated in the Battle of Copenhagen.

In 1809 he visited Petworth, Cockermouth Castle, Oxford, Lowther Castle and Whitehaven Castle. From 1810 to 1827, he visited Farnley Hall every year.

In 1819, he joined the board of directors of the institution.

In the same year, 1819, he visited Italy and studied the works of Titian, Raphael and Canaletto. The Italian city of Venice, where he stayed three times (in 1819, 1829 and 1840), was an important source of inspiration. His exhibitions turned into performances where it was not uncommon to see him painting and reworking his paintings while they were being exhibited, all in front of an astonished public.

Between 1822 and 1824, Turner painted The Battle of Trafalgar in an unusually large format. This painting, commissioned by George IV for the Painted Hall of the Greenwich Hospital, has as its theme the battle of Trafalgar and combines several moments of the battle such as the raising of the famous flag signal England expects that every man will do his duty by Horatio Nelson from his flagship, the HMS Victory, the breaking of one of the masts of the British ship - a probable allusion to Nelson's death - the burning French Achilles and the sinking of the Redoutable. The painting was inspired by the painting Lord Howe at the Battle of 13 Prairial Year II by Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg in 1795. At the time, the painting was criticized "for its non-chronological approach to Nelson's victory" and "its powerful allusions to human cost.

He had already stayed in 1809, at Petworth House, inland from Chichester in West Sussex, invited by the Earl of Egremont who had started an important collection of his paintings. He returned there in 1827 and often until the Earl's death in 1837, even being given a room for his studio. There he worked on a series of four paintings on a double square format in the sculpted room of Petworth, overlooking the lake.

During his trip to Italy in 1828, he returned to Rome and worked this time in oil. He settled in a studio in Piazza Mignanelli with a painter friend of his, Charles Eastlake. The latter told Thornbury that Turner "had painted there the" View of Orvieto "and" Regulus "and" Medea ".

On the night of October 16, 1834, Turner witnessed the Parliament Fire in London where the Palace of Westminster, used as the seat of the United Kingdom Parliament, was largely destroyed. Between horror and fascination for this catastrophe, thousands of spectators witnessed the scene, as well as painters like Turner and Constable. Turner rented a boat to produce a series of watercolors from which he drew two paintings, notably The Fire of the House of Lords and Commons, October 16, 1834.

In 1838, Turner produced his most famous painting. The painting, first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1839, depicts one of the last remaining second-rate ships of the line that played a vital role in the Battle of Trafalgar, the HMS Temeraire, being towed by a paddle-wheel steam tug to Rotherhithe to be destroyed. Here Turner paints the end of an era, that of this veteran ship of the line from the Napoleonic Wars. This work, along with others, demonstrates Turner's fascination with the modern world and the industrial revolution while also showing his talent for staging, since he did not himself witness the towing of the Temeraire. Turner's painting, which could also represent the decline of the British navy, was critically acclaimed and received accolades from John Ruskin and William Makepeace Thackeray. It is also one of the painter's favorite works: he lent it once and then refused to do so again and refused to sell it in order to bequeath it to the British nation at his death.

In 1840, Turner painted one of his most engaging pictures, The Negro, which deals with the plight of slaves and their treatment at the time: The Negro, which deals with the plight of slaves and the way they were treated at the time. The theme of the work is inspired by the Zong massacre and is a possible artistic counterpart to the other painting Rockets and Blue Signals.

In 1842, Turner painted Peace - Funeral at Sea, the subject of which is the "burial" at sea of one of his friends, the artist David Wilkie. The painting contrasts with its palette of saturated blacks with its counterpart, War. The Exile and the Araped. Both works were criticized at the time for their lack of finish.

Rain, Steam and Speed was painted in 1844 and shows another image of progress and modern industry. The painting depicts a locomotive passing over the Maidenhead Railway Bridge in Maidenhead. Turner was one of the few artists at the time who was interested in trains.

In 1845, he became president of the Royal Academy, but his enthusiasm was dampened by the burden that accompanied this new position. In the same period, Turner produced a group of unfinished or experimental paintings. He did not wish to show them, at least not as they stood, and they represent his last style, in which his art grew in richness, vivacity and boldness.

In 1846, he retired from public life, living discreetly in Cheyne Walk under the pseudonym of "Mr Booth" or "Admiral Booth", named after his companion Sophia Caroline Booth (1798-1875), while his friends thought he still lived in his house at 47 Queen Ann Street. He exhibited one last time at the Royal Academy in 1850, a year before his death.


Turner remains attached to his London identity, and will retain a cockney accent throughout his life or stingy and, as he ages, becomes increasingly eccentric and taciturn. He is also a heavy drinker.

He had few friends and relatives, with the exception of his father who, working for his son as his assistant, lived with him until his death in 1829. His death greatly affected Turner, who was, from then on, subject to bouts of depression.

He never married but had a relationship with a musician's widow, Sarah Danby, who was older than him. He is suspected of being the father of his two daughters, Evelina and Georgiana, born in 1801 and 1811, although more recent research indicates that they are his father's daughters, and therefore his half-sisters. Later, from 1833, he had a relationship with Sophia Caroline Booth, after the death of her second husband, and lived for about eighteen years in her house in Chelsea.

Turner traveled extensively throughout his career, first to England and Scotland, then in 1802 to France, the Netherlands and the Austrian Empire (Prague and Vienna). This life of travel set him apart from a painter like John Constable, who was more sedentary. In this Grand Tour, which culminated in the trips to Italy in 1819, 1828, 1833 and 1840, he "confronted Antiquity and a cultural heritage of which he had until then had only an indirect approach.

Like many of his contemporaries, Turner was a lover of snuff. In 1838, the French king Louis-Philippe I gave him a gold snuff box.

Death and will

On December 19, 1851, Turner died of cholera at the home of his companion Sophia Caroline Booth in Cheyne Walk, in the Chelsea neighborhood, where he had been leading a double life with this widow since 1846. His last words are said to have been "The sun is God" and a religious ceremony was held at St. Paul's Cathedral in London on December 30.

At his request, he was buried in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, where he was buried alongside the painter Joshua Reynolds. The architect Philip Hardwick, son of his tutor Thomas Hardwick, was in charge of the funeral arrangements. A marble statue by the sculptor Patrick MacDowell was erected there in 1862, the same year the first biography of the artist by George Walter Thornbury was published.

In his will, Turner bequeathed all of his works to the British state. One of his executors, the poet and art critic John Ruskin, whom he had met in 1840 (Ruskin initiated a work of census, classification and safeguarding that has done much for the posterity of the artist), will give the major part of the legacy (the bottom of his studio as well as all the oils, drawings, watercolors and engravings in this studio, most of which are still unknown) to the National Gallery, future Tate Britain. The museum is responsible for exhibiting them by creating rooms. He also wanted a large part of his fortune to be used for the construction of a hospice for elderly painters. A sum is also foreseen for a monument. He gave an annual annuity to his housekeeper and another for the creation of a chair for the teaching of landscape art at the Royal Academy. His other possessions were divided among his family. His generosity contrasts with his supposedly stingy personality.

Influences and connections

He was influenced by artists such as Willem van de Velde the Younger, Albert Cuyp, John Robert Cozens, Richard Wilson, Claude Gellée ("Claude le Lorrain") and Nicolas Poussin. He was noticed by an art lover of the time who allowed him to meet various artists such as Thomas Girtin with whom he became friends. Influenced by Edmund Burke's Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful of 1757, Turner integrated the concept of the Sublime into some of his works, beginning with Dutch Boats in a Storm, which presents a terrifying and at the same time delightful spectacle.

He first worked in engraving before watercolor and then painting. According to his own recollections, he was impressed by a suite of 16 chiaroscuro engravings by Elisha Kirkall (1722) after Van de Velde le Jeune.

From 1802 onwards, the desire to travel took him to the European continent, mainly to France and Switzerland, from where he brought back, of course, watercolors but also a taste for certain artists, such as Lorrain and his representations of mythology. Turner painted ancient frescoes such as Dido building Carthage in 1815. He was also inspired by Lorrain's Liber Veritatis in his work, Liber Studiorum, thus establishing a classification of different types of landscapes: Marine, Mountain, Pastoral, Historical, Architectural and Epic Pastoral.

Its technique, its repercussions

He does not hesitate to experiment with strange combinations of watercolor and oil as well as new products in his paintings. Sometimes he even used unusual materials such as tobacco juice and aged beer, resulting in the need for regular restorations of his works. The painter and art critic George Beaumont called Turner and his followers like Callcott "white painters" because they developed the use of a white background in the early nineteenth century to give their paintings freshness of color and luminosity, allowing the effects of watercolor to pass directly into oil painting, "effects quite different from those obtained with the traditional red or brown backgrounds of the old Masters.

His transition from a more realistic representation to more luminous works, bordering on the imaginary (Snowstorm at Sea), occurred after a trip to Italy in 1819 (Campo Santo in Venice). Turner showed the suggestive power of color, and his attraction to the representation of atmospheres made him, for art critics such as Clive Bell, a precursor of modernity in painting and of impressionism, to the point of becoming "the painter of fires". But he rarely painted on the motif, unlike the Impressionists, who made this practice a rule. He prefers to recompose the nuances of landscapes in the studio, helped by his great memory of colors. Other critics prefer to push their analysis even further by seeing in the absence of lines and vanishing points or the dissolution of form in color, particularly in Turner's seascapes, the beginnings of lyrical abstraction, or even of action painting in the making.

Price of the works and signature of the artist

Turner set the prices of his works himself. However, he continued the practice of the Royal Academy, which set the price according to the size of the canvas. Thus, around 1800, a typical work, measuring 91 × 122 cm, was worth 200 guineas. As Turner's reputation grew, the price of his works adapted, but he kept some of them despite their very high prices, such as Sunrise in the Mist (ca. 1844) and The Last Voyage of the Bold (1838). During the artist's lifetime, the paintings Pas de Calais and Bateaux de pêcheurs avec des négociants (Fishermen's Boats with Merchants) were the best-selling works, selling for 1,260 livres in 1851, or 6,000 euros. The significant inflation in the price of Turner's works today is linked to the fact that most of them are unsaleable, as they are the property of the British state.

Turner was not in the habit of signing his works. Depending on the period, the signatures "W Turner", "W m Turner" or even "William Turner" are found. After his election to the Royal Academy, he signed "JMW Turner" with usually "RA" added, as well as "PP" when he became professor of perspective. Signatures became much rarer after 1840, probably because the artist's style was so recognizable that he could dispense with them. Some works such as Dogana and Madonna della Salute, Venice (1843) have his initials in trompe l'oeil. He also facetiously signed his name with a flock of birds or a duck, his middle name Mallord resembling the word mallard, which means mallard in English. His father is also suspected of having signed many of his son's works.

Selection of notable works

A prolific painter, Turner was an artist who produced over 550 oil paintings, 2,000 watercolor paintings and 30,000 works on paper (drawings, sketches). The Tate Britain (formerly the Tate Gallery) in London has produced the most comprehensive Turner catalog.


The dissemination of Turner's work was primarily through the production of prints interpreting his paintings. Among the first and most talented printmakers was Robert Wallis (1794-1878).

Turner Prize

The Turner Prize is an annual award given to a contemporary artist - usually British - under the age of 50. It is organized by Tate Britain, in London, since 1984. The prize money is £40,000.

Television, theater and cinema

Leo McKern plays the role of Turner in the TV movie The Sun is God (1974), directed by Michael Darlow.

In the episode One clue too many of the series Hercule Poirot (1991), the famous detective wishes to invite the Countess Vera Rossakoff to visit the Turner collection.

Turner is also the subject of the play The Painter (2011) by Rebecca Lenkiewicz.

British filmmaker Mike Leigh directed the film Mr. Turner (2014) tracing the artist's last years. For the role of Turner, actor Timothy Spall received the Best Actor Award at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.


  1. J. M. W. Turner
  2. Joseph Mallord William Turner
  3. Turner était connu par son prénom, William, au cours de sa vie. Cependant, il est maintenant généralement désigné par ses initiales au Royaume-Uni, afin d'éviter toute confusion avec un autre artiste du nom de William Turner (1789-1862).
  4. Turner serait né entre la fin avril et le début du mois de mai 1775 mais sa date de naissance exacte est inconnue. La première date vérifiable est donc son baptême le 14 mai. Avec le taux de mortalité infantile élevé, les parents baptisaient généralement leurs enfants peu après la naissance.
  5. Le choix d'une carrière artistique, notamment dans une famille d'employés et d'artisans depuis plusieurs générations, est toujours plus difficile et peu d'artistes peuvent s'enorgueillir du soutien de leur famille. Il soutiendra par la suite directement son fils en préparant ses toiles et ses couleurs dans son atelier et en devenant son « manager » (les deux possèdent le sens des affaires). Pierre de Matino, Encyclopédie de l’art, peinture, sculpture, architecture, éditions Lidis, 1973, p. 72.
  6. ^ a b Borghesi, Rocchi, p. 26.
  7. ^ Borghesi, Rocchi, p. 13.
  8. ^ Borghesi, Rocchi, pp. 26-29.
  9. ^ a b Borghesi, Rocchi, p. 30.
  10. ^ Borghesi, Rocchi, p. 34.
  11. Alexander Joseph Finberg: The Life of J.M.A. Turner, R.A. Clarendon Press, Oxford 1961, ISBN 0-19-817136-6, S. 17. – Turners Rolle in der Royal Academy of Arts stellt Syamken übersichtlich dar in: Georg Syamken, Biographische Dokumentation. In: Werner Hofmann (Hrsg.), William Turner und die Landschaft seiner Zeit. ISBN 3-7913-0375-9, S. 10–28, darin: S. 22/23.
  12. Über Turners Lehrtätigkeit siehe Syamken, in: Hoffmann, S. 24/25.
  13. Dagegen siehe Syamken in: Hoffmann, S. 17: „Die Wirkung des ersten Italienaufenthaltes aus Turners Farbgebung hat man lange überschätzt. Ansätze zur Aufhellung der Farbe zeigen sich bereits 1817.“
  14. Lawrence Gowing: Turner. In: Kindlers Malerei-Lexikon. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, München 1976, Bd. 12., Tiepolo – Zurbaran, S. 91.
  15. ^ Although Turner was known by his middle name, William, he is now generally referred to by his initials, in order to avoid confusion with the artist William Turner (1789–1862).
  16. ^ Turner claimed to have been born on 23 April 1775, which is both Saint George's Day and the supposed birthday of William Shakespeare, but this claim has never been verified.[6] The first verifiable date is that Turner was baptised on 14 May, and some authors doubt the 23 April date on the grounds that high infant mortality rates meant that parents usually baptised their children shortly after birth.[7]

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