Sunday, February 8, 2015

William Turner of Oxford

Stonehenge - Twilight
about 1840
27.0 x 39.7 cm
The J. Paul Getty Museum, California, USA

William Turner (1789-1862) was an English landscape painter who is often confused with his more famous namesake and contemporary, J.M.W. Turner. The confusion arises because both artists were active at the same time, shared the same surname, and dealt mainly with landscape painting. Despite the shared surname, skills and interests, they were not related to each other. William is often referred to as Turner of Oxford to distinguish him from J.M.W. Turner.

He was born in a village of Oxfordshire. His father died when he was just two years old, leaving his mother to bring up William and his two sisters. Eventually, he went to live with his father’s brother when he was fourteen years old. He had always shown a keen interest in drawing and painting. He was granted an exhibition of his works at the Royal Academy in London in 1807, his first public exhibition. In 1808 he was elected to full membership of the Watercolour Society.

He returned to his native Oxfordshire in 1810, first living in Woodstock and then at various addresses in and around Oxford, and spent the remainder of his life there. He taught many amateur artists as well as university students and produced numerous landscapes of Oxford city and surrounding areas. He worked predominantly in watercolours but occasionally used oils. He exhibited prolificly throughout his career.