Artist in Focus - J.M.W. Turner


Joseph Mallord William Turner, one of Britain’s greatest artists and a genius in landscape painting of the nineteenth century. Born in 1775 to a hairdresser of Covent Garden his rudimentary elementary education was enhanced by his entrance to the schools of the Royal Academy in 1789.

Originally inspired by excursions into the countryside, he depicted light backgrounds full of the purest orange, blue, purple and other powerful colours. Turner worked between 1789 and 1851, which was a time of great change and innovation as the agricultural and industrial revolutions were transforming the country. Whilst many artists ignored these changes, Turner instead faced these new challenges. ‘Turners Modern World’, an exhibition at Tate Britain in London, explores how he transformed the way he painted to better capture this new world. 

His art was appreciated from early in his career and he was able to live comfortably in Harley Street, then Hammersmith and later in a large house in Twickenham. However his absolute genius was entirely contradicted by his shabby and ungainly appearance and manner. 

The exhibition ‘Turner’s Modern World’ will once again be open to the public at Tate Britain from the 2nd December 2020. Booking will be essential and limited with the exhibition running until 7 March 2021.

‘This landmark exhibition will bring together major works by Turner from Tate and other collections, including The Fighting Temeraire 1839 and Rail, Steam and Speed 1844. It will explore what it meant to be a modern artist in his lifetime and present an exciting new perspective on his work and life.’

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