In 1984, the annual Turner Prize was named in JMW Turner’s honour, but what about the man? Here are 6 facts about the artist.
Turner’s father, was a barber and wig maker in London’s Covent Garden.
As his success grew and he eventually began to move in upper-class circles, he remained proud of his roots, never dropping his Cockney accent or hiding his past.
At just 14 years old, Turner was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools in 1789. To fund his education, he worked as an architectural draughtsman and painted scenery for London playhouses, activities which led him to develop both exceptional technical skill and a taste for landscapes.
By 1804, when he was just 29 years old, Turner had opened his own gallery in London’s Harley Street. He then became preoccupied with his own artistic legacy, attempting to buy back works and arranging for his personal collection to be housed at London’s then newly opened National Gallery.
Famously solitary, Turner, who once wrote that, ‘Woman is doubtful love’, but he publicly denied being the father of two daughters born to a secret lover.
In 2016, Turner’s image was chosen by the Bank of England to appear on the new £20 note, honouring his profound contribution to British art.