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Joseph Mallord William
By Kaitlin Cox
William Turner was born on April 23, 1775 in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, England. His
father, William Gay Turner, was a barber and wig maker while his mother became very mentally
unstable. This was most likely because his younger sister, Helen, passed away. His mother, Mary
Marshall, passed away after being admitted to an asylum. After that he went to live with his uncle in
Brentford (town outside of London). This is where he first started expressing his love for painting,
and started drawing. At just the age of 14, Turner was enrolled into the Royal Academy of Art
Schools. He was first interested in architecture, but architect Thomas Hardwick, his first mentor,
advised him to keep painting as well. The next year he was entered into a summer exhibition for
one of his watercolor paintings. After 1796, he exhibited about every year at the academy. Turner
was best known for his oil paintings because he is known as “the painter of light. Most of his
support came from Walter Ramsden Fawkes, of Farnley Hall because they became such great
friends and he was so intrigued by him and the area when they first met. Once his father passed
away, he became depressed. He never married, but had two children by Sarah Danby. He passed
away on December 19, 1851 in his mistresses house.
William Turners painted his work in the romanticism era. His work is an
example of this because his paintings are landscapes that represent
rebellion against the norm through the movement of his art. He was
heavily influenced by two artists before him John Robert Cozens and
Richard Wilson. Most of Turners followers came after his death, but he
had the most influence on impressionists and post-impressionists.
Important Paintings
1. The Fighting Temeraire (1839)
Found at the National Gallery,
Oil painting
Important Paintings
2. Rain, Steam and Speed (1844)
Found at the National Gallery,
Oil painting
Important Paintings
3. The Slave Ship (1840)
Found at Museum of Fine Arts,
Oil painting
Important Paintings
4. Hannibal Crossing the Alps
Found at Tate Gallery, London
Oil painting
Important Paintings
5. The Dort (1818)
Found at Yale Center for British
Art, New Haven, Connecticut
Oil painting
Important Paintings
6. Norham Castle, Sunrise (1845)
Found at Tate Britain
Oil painting
Important Paintings
7. Venice, from the Porch of
Madonna della Salute (1835)
Found at The Met Fifth Avenue,
New York
Oil painting
Venice, from the Porch of Madonna
della Salute (1835) is one of my favorite
paintings of Turners because it
incorporates a lot of colors and is very
bright. This is an oil painting like most
of his paintings. The colors that
dominate in this painting are blues and
the green of the water. This painting
reminds me of the beach sort of with
the blue skies and the water. I mainly
love the bright colors and detail that
Turner put into this piece.
Hannibal Crossing the Alps (1812) is
another favorite of mine because I love
the contrast between the light and dark
in this oil painting. To me there are not
really any colors that dominate per say,
but the contrast of the colors as a whole
stand out to make the painting have
movement through the ‘wave’ of
darkness. This represents romanticism
because it is depicting a scene of,
exactly what the title says Hannibal
Crossing the Alps.