Joseph William Turner (1775 - 1851)

By the early 1830s Turner was a regular visitor to the seaside town of Margate, on the eastern tip of the county of Kent, about seventy miles downriver from London. Turner’s first introduction to Margate came in the 1790s, when … Read Full Description

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Full Title:





Joseph William Turner (1775 - 1851)


In good condition.


Hand coloured engraving.

Image Size: 

x 180mm
Margate - Antique Print from 1875

Genuine antique



By the early 1830s Turner was a regular visitor to the seaside town of Margate, on the eastern tip of the county of Kent, about seventy miles downriver from London. Turner’s first introduction to Margate came in the 1790s, when the place was essentially just a small fishing town, but it had since become a bustling resort that Londoners could reach effortlessly by steamboat in half a day. The geographic setting is remarkable, benefiting from a magnificently open prospect over the sea to the north and east, which allegedly induced Turner to claim that the skies in this area were among the loveliest in Europe. In addition to this natural prospect, the attractions of Margate were somewhat unorthodox for Turner, stemming from his clandestine relationship with Sophia Caroline Booth (1798–1875), a young widow, who was initially his landlady and subsequently his mistress and muse.

From the windows of Mrs Booth’s lodging-house, near the harbour quay, Turner was able to watch the arrival and departure of the London steamers, a couple of which formed the subject of a painting he displayed at the Royal Academy in 1840 Rockets and blue lights (close at hand) to warn steamboats of shoal water.1 The basic composition of that work was anticipated by a study, Waves breaking on a lee shore c. 1840, which is a pair to the work exhibited here.2The studies focus on the shore on either side of Margate harbour; in this case looking back from the west to the light tower at the end of the protective outer wall, which is created as a dull silhouette by the later application of a lighter area of whitish grey paint around it. As in even his earliest depictions of the sea, Turner sought to give his painted representation dramatic textures that replicate, and seemingly act as a substitute for, the movement of water.


William Turner (1775-1851)

Turner began his artistic career at a very young age, selling his first painting at just 12 years old. Throughout his career he remained highly sought-after and acquired a very large fortune from his commissions. He is remembered as an influential painter, said to be the best landscapist of the 19th century, and a key artist to influence the Impressionist movement.

At 14, Turner entered the Royal Academy schools where he exhibited his watercolors. At age 19 he got a job as a reproduction artist, making copies of the unfinished drawings of John Robert Cozens, a recently deceased landscape painter. In 1796 Turner began to exhibit oil paintings in addition to his watercolors at the Royal Academy and soon was elected as an associate of the Royal Academy, he was 24, the youngest permitted age for such an honor. In 1802 he became a full academician and by 1807 he was appointed professor of perspective.

Turner travelled in quest for inspiration. He travelled throughout England and Wales and throughout Europe where he picked up the his love for marine subjects. In 1817, Turner set out for his first trip to Italy, spending three months in Rome, and visiting Naples, Florence and Venice. During these trips he produced about 1,500 drawings. He continued to travel around England, Scotland and the rest of the continent for inspiration.

Turner continued to paint and travel throughout the last 15 years of his life. He died at the age of 76, in 1851 in Chelsea. According to his wishes, he was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral. The $140,000 he left to fund a charity was dispersed amongst distant relatives. He had planned that the majority of his fortune would help “decayed artists. “

Turner is remembered as the pioneer of light color and atmosphere.

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