J.M. William Turner



Turner's Timeline

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Written by Peter Imialek


1775 (birth) - Joseph Mallord William Turner is born on April 23rd in Covent Garden, London, England, to William Gay Turner, a barber and wig maker, and Mary Marshall.

1785 (age 10) - Turner is sent to live with his uncle on his mother's side in Brentford, then a small town west of London on the banks of the Thames. It is here that he first exhibits an interest in painting.

1786 (age 11) - Turner goes to school in Margate on the north-east Kent coast. By now he has already created many drawings and sketches. It is this year that Turner's younger sister, Helen Turner, dies.

1789 (age 14) - Turner enters the Royal Academy of Art schools and begins preparing for his entrance exam to the academy.

1790 (age 15) - Turner is accepted into the Royal Academy of Art. One of Turner's watercolours is accepted for the Academy's Summer Exhibition.

1796 (age 21) - Turner exhibits his first oil painting at the Academy, Fisherman at Sea.

1797 (age 22) - Turner visits Otley in Yorkshire where he is commissioned to paint watercolours of the area. While there, he meets Walter Ramsden Fawkes who will become an important patron and close friend.

1799 (age 24) - Turner's mother is committed to an insane asylum.

1801 (age 26) - Sarah Danby, Turner's mistress, gives birth to his first daughter.

1804 (age 29) - Mary Marshall, Turner's mother, passes away.

1811 (age 36) - Sarah Danby gives birth to Turner's second and last child, another girl.

1812 (age 27) - Turner breaks from the traditions of English landscape when he paints Hannibal Crossing the Alps.

1815 (age 40) - Turner paints his famous Dido Building Carthage.

1829 (age 54) - After living with his son for 30 years, William Gay, passes away. Turner is deeply moved by his father's passing and from here on will be subject to bouts of depression.

1835 (age 60) - Turner paints The Grand Canal, Venice.

1844 (age 69) - Turner paints his famous and influential Rain, Steam and Speed.

1850 (age 75) - Turner gives his last exhibition at the Royal Academy.

1851 (age 76) - Turner dies in the house of his mistress Sophia Caroline Booth in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea on December 19th. It is said that his last words were "The sun is God." At his request, he is buried in St. Paul's Cathedral in London, where he lies next to Sir Joshua Reynolds.

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