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  • Joseph Mallord William Turner
    Apr 23, 1775 - Dec 19, 1851
  • The Burning of the House of Lords and Commons, 16th October, 1834 - Joseph Mallord William Turner was an English Romantic landscape painter, watercolourist and printmaker. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting. He is commonly known as "the painter of light" and his work regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism.
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The Burning of the House of Lords and Commons, 16th October, 1834
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  • The Burning of the House of Lords and Commons, 16th October, 1834

  • Joseph Mallord William Turner
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  • 1835
    Oil on canvas
    92 cm (36.22 in.) x 123 cm (48.43 in.)
    Philadelphia Museum of Art, United States.

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Other paintings by Joseph Mallord William Turner:

Dinner in a Great Room with Figures in Costume
Dinner in a Great Room with Figures in Costume
Dido Building Carthage (The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire)
Dido Building Carthage (The Rise of the Carthaginian Empire)
Departure of the Fleet
Departure of the Fleet
Death on a Pale Horse
Death on a Pale Horse
Joseph Mallord William TurnerTurner, Joseph Mallord William, 1775–1851, English landscape painter, b. London. Turner was the foremost English romantic painter and the most original of English landscape artists; in watercolor he is unsurpassed. The son of a barber, he received almost no general education but at 14 was already a student at the Royal Academy of Arts and three years later was making topographical drawings for magazines. In 1791 for the first time he exhibited two watercolors at the Royal Academy. In the following 10 years he exhibited there regularly, was elected a member (1802), and was made professor of perspective (1807). By 1799 the sale of his work had freed him from drudgery and he devoted himself to the visionary interpretations of landscape for which he became famous.

In 1802, Turner made a trip to the Continent, where he painted his famous Calais Pier (National Gall., London). From then on he traveled constantly in England or abroad, making innumerable direct sketches from which he drew material for his studio paintings in oil and watercolor. Turner showed a remarkable ability to distill the best from the tradition of landscape painting and he helped to further elevate landscape (and seascape) as important artistic subject matter. The influence of the Dutch masters is apparent in his Sun Rising through Vapor (National Gall., London). In the vein of the French classical landscape painter, Claude Lorrain, he produced the Liber Studiorum (1807–19), 70 drawings that were later reproduced by engraving under Turner's supervision. Among the paintings evocative of Claude's style are his Dido Building Carthage (National Gall., London) and Crossing the Brook (Tate Gall., London). Despite his early and continued success Turner lived the life of a recluse. As his fame grew he maintained a large gallery in London for exhibition of his work, but continued to live quietly with his elderly father.

Turner's painting became increasingly abstract as he strove to portray light, space, and the elemental forces of nature. In fact, some of his modern admirers have noted that the true subjects of his late paintings are the radiance of light and the vitality of paint itself. Characteristic of his later period are such paintings as The Fighting Téméraire and Rain, Steam, and Speed (both: National Gall., London). His late Venetian works, which describe atmospheric effects with brighter colors, include The Grand Canal (Metropolitan Mus.) and Approach to Venice (National Gall., Washington, D.C.). Turner encountered violent criticism as his style became increasingly free, but he was passionately defended by Sir Thomas Lawrence and the youthful Ruskin. Visionary, revolutionary, and extremely influential, these late paintings laid the groundwork for impressionism, postimpressionism, abstract expressionism, color-field painting, and a myriad of other art movements of the late 19th and 20th cents. Turner's will, which was under litigation for many years, left more than 19,000 watercolors, drawings, and oils to the British nation. Most of these works are in the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery, London. Many of Turner's oils have deteriorated badly.
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