Joseph Mallord William Turner The Piazzetta, Venice 1840


Born 1775
Died 1851
Nationality English
Birth place London
Death place Chelsea

Turner transformed the art of landscape painting in Britain. From detailed topographical studies to expansive, atmospheric vistas his works celebrate the diversity and emotive power of nature. He was born in Covent Garden, the son of a barber, and exhibited his earliest sketches in his father's shop before studying at the Royal Academy Schools. Turner became the youngest ever full member of the Royal Academy in 1802. His experimental use of watercolour and oils achieved stunning effects, attracting contemporary criticism and praise. Turner's admiration of past masters, above all Claude Lorraine, and the numerous sketches made on many tours in Britain and abroad, provided the basis for his 'sublime' land and seascapes.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms


A movement in art, literature and music in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that rejected neoclassical restraint in favour of emotion and individual expression.