The legendary, 'Romantic,' landscape painter, printmaker, and watercolorist, Joseph Mallord William Turner or JMW Turner, was born on April 23, 1775, in Convent Garden, London, England. His father, William Gay Turner, was a barber. Joseph's mother, Mary Marshall, died in 1804. Not being to any school, his father taught him reading. For a better upbringing, in 1785, Turner was sent to his maternal uncle at Brentford, London.
In 1786, he went to Margate, Kent, for schooling, where the River Thames and its restless disposition, kept fascinating him creatively through his growing years. By the age of thirteen, William was exhibiting his art works on his father's shop window. In 1789, at the age of fourteen, the artistically illustrated painter, supervised at the Art Schools of the Royal Academy. Here, he experimented with coloring prints, designing theatrical sets, and architectural designing. In 1796, Turner's first oil painting, "Fisherman at Sea" was exhibited at the Royal Academy, a display trend that continued regularly for the next decade.
Concentrating only on English Landscape Painting, by 1799, Mallord had earned enough fame to secure himself financially. His first daughter was born in 1801, followed by the second in 1811, both from Sarah Danby. He never married though. In 1802, during an excursion of the European Continent, he painted "Calais Pier," and studied at the Louvre, in Paris.
Mallord's paintings were the unique results of extensive explorations for canvassing worthy scenes. His summers were spent hunting the theme and sketching, while in winters, he would return home to complete his unfinished pictures. His paintings of 1790s, depicting mountains & waterfalls he observed during his British tours, and those of 1840s sporting historical monuments & other works from his Venice trips, corroborate the trend. The vagaries of nature, such as fog, storm, rain, sunlight, & restless water bodies, and life enthralled him. His 'Romanticism' is well carried with diversity through his paintings. In his later years, his paintings turned 'Impressionistic,' swarming into imaginary spirituality, with light and radiance in the nature, representing God's blessings through his canvass. Therefore, he was also called the 'painter of light.' By 1840s, his oil paintings had more transparency and shinning clarity depicting spiritual purity such as in "Rain, Steam and Speed - The Great Western Railway (1844)."
William's poetic sensibilities could have been distinguished from his paintings like "Snow Storm: Hannibal Crossing the Alps (1812)." During 1807-19, Turner worked on the series, "Liber Studorium," entailing landscape paintings in the historical, mountainous, pastoral, marine, and architectural ranges. From 1828 to 1837, he painted a series of figure paintings, which ended with "Interior at Petworth." In 1838, he created his famous oil, "The fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up," followed by "Dawn after the Wreck" and "The Slave Ship," both in 1840.
Turner's reintegration was growing proportionally to his fame. During his later years, his style of painting was criticized from several quarters, with Sir Thomas Lawrence and John Ruskin as his ardent supporters however. In 1845, Turner had to stop traveling due to poor health. Exhibiting for the last time in 1850, he died on December 19, 1851, at Chelsea, London.
His paintings revolutionized the art world and were instrumental for the evolution of art movements, such as 'Impressionism,' 'Post-Impressionism,' and 'Abstract Expressionism,' of the late nineteenth and twenty centuries. Turner's esteemed works include "Dido building Carthage (1815), Color Beginning (1819), Ulysses Deriding Polyphemus (1829)," The burning of the Houses of Lords and Commons (1834) , and "Sunrise with Sea Monsters (1845)."