Turner Paintings Reproduction and Biography
Joseph Mallord William Turner, often called "the painter of light", as well as "the great pyrotechnist", was born in London, England on April 23, 1775, at his parents home on 21 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden.
Turner's great passion in life since childhood was to be an artist. A path he would never vary from...forsaking marriage and family. Turner would have a few women friends in his lifetime, and probably did father some children, but had no particular affection for these children, but did provide for their financial needs.
His father was a barber and his mother a housewife who, early in Turner’s life, had shown signs of emotional instability. She was later admitted to an asylum, and would died in 1804 within the confines of its walls.
Turner became very close to his father, and remained so until his father’s death in 1829. Unlike many parents, his father always showed an understanding of his son’s artistic endeavors, and would later close up shop as a barber, and become a full time business manager of his son’s finances and career.
Turner was sent to live for about a year with an uncle in Brentford, Middlesex in 1786. During this time Turner explored the countryside around Twickenham. His first signed and dated drawings resulted from this time period. It’s not known exactly why Turner was sent to live with his uncle, but perhaps it was due to circumstances surrounding his mother’s mental illness.
At 14, the young Turner's first known sketchbook was a small 6"x10" book that he filled with drawings of landscapes, a church, houses, and trees. He became especially fond of old buildings, castles, churches, and ruins that he found during his walking tours of the countryside. Walking long distances of as much as 25 miles in a day, with sketchbook in hand, would become a practice that Turner continued throughout most of his life.
All considered,Turner was largely a self taught artist. Turner spent many hours, during his later travels in Europe, copying the paintings of old masters in the Louve and other museums, and of course his love, sketching from nature.
In 1789, Turner enrolled in the Royal Academy Schools. A watercolor painting by Turner marked his first exhibit at the Academy in 1790. By 1795, having specialized in watercolors and drawings, Turner became interested in oil painting. One of Turner's first oil paintings, “Fishermen at Sea” was hung at the Royal Academy in 1796. Turner was 16 at the time, and well on the road to becoming an artist of note.
During this time Turner took his first sketching tour of South and Central Wales in 1792. In June and July of 1795, Turner visited South Wales and the Isle of Wight...and later toured the North of England.
In November of 1799 Turner was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Art, at the age of 24. At this time he moved from his parents home to 64 Harley Street...later completing a gallery in 1804 at this address, to exhibit his own paintings.
It’s thought during this period that Turner met Sarah Danby, and after her husbands death in 1798, that she became his mistress in 1799. All though Turner never lived with her, he did help support her children, and she is believed to have had his first child. Turner was very secretive about his personal life, so many details are not known.