Joseph Mallord William Turner

Self-Portrait c.1799
English Romantic landscape painter, watercolourist and printmaker,

William Turner

was born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London,
April 23, 1775.

Known for his expressive colourisations, imaginative landscapes and turbulent seascapes, Turner devoted his entire life to his art and was fortunate to be successful throughout his career.
He left behind more than 550 oil paintings, 2,000 watercolours, and 30,000 works on paper. Most are in the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery, London.

With such a huge legacy, it’s quite a task trying to ‘pick’, however, here’s a …taste!
Valley of Aosta: Snowstorm, Avalanche and Thunderstorm

“…indistinctness is my forte…”

Calais Pier
The Evening of the Deluge
Fishermen at Sea
Seascape with Burning Hulk

“My business is to paint what I see, not what I know is there.”

Rough Sea
Norham Castle, Sunrise
Little Devil’s Bridge

“If I could find anything blacker than black I’d use it.”

Lake Como
Going to the Ball (San Martino)

“To select, combine and concentrate that which is beautiful in nature and admirable in art is as much the business of the landscape painter in his line as in the other departments of art.”

Raby Castle, the Seat of the Earl of Darlington
Tempête de Neige [Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth making Signals in Shallow Water, and going by the Lead]
A Hurricane in the Desert (The Simoom), for Rogers’s ‘Poems’

“I don’t paint so that people will understand me, I paint to show what a particular scene looks like.”

A Shipwreck
Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland
Breakers on a Flat Beach

“Painting is a strange business.”

Seascape with a Yacht
Wreckers Coast of Northumberland
Burning Ship
Waves Breaking against the Wind
The Thames Glimpsed between Trees, possibly at Kew Bridge
The Scarlet Sunset
The New Moon; or, ‘I’ve lost My Boat, You shan’t have Your Hoop’
The Burning of the Houses of Parliament
The Angel Standing in the Sun
Sunset From the Top of the Rigi
Study of Sea and Sky, Isle of Wight
Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps
Ship in a Storm

J.M.W. Turner’s Poem dedicated to Ivan Aivazovsky [1842]

Like a curtain slowly drawn
It stops suddenly half open,
Or, like grief itself, filled with gentle hope,
It becomes lighter in the shore-less dark,
Thus the moon barely wanes
Winding her way above the storm-tossed sea.
Stand upon this hill and behold endlessly
This scene of a formidable sea,
And it will seem to thee a waking dream.
That secret mind flowing in thee
Which even the day cannot scatter,
The serenity of thinking and the beating of the heart
Will enchain thee in this vision;
This golden-silver moon
Standing lonely over the sea,
All curtain the grief of even the hopeless.
And it appears that through the tempest
Moves a light caressing wind,
While the sea swells up with a roar,
Sometimes, like a battlefield it looks to me
The tempestuous sea,
Where the moon itself is a brilliant golden crown
Of a great king.
But even that moon is always beneath thee
Oh Master most high,
Oh forgive thou me
If even this master was frightened for a moment
Oh, noble moment, by art betrayed…
And how may one not delight in thee,
Oh thou young boy, but forgive thou me,
If I shall bend my white head
Before thy art divine
Thy bliss-wrought genius…

Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, D. 759 “Unfinished”

1. Allegro moderato

Franz Schubert

Berliner Philharmoniker · Herbert von Karajan

Piano Trio in D major, Op. 70 No. 1 “Ghost”

Ludwig van Beethoven

Daniel Barenboim – piano • Pinchas Zukerman – violin • Jacqueline du Pré – cello

For more information on Turner:


Be Safe 🏡

63 replies »

  1. These paintings are fascinating to view as a group. Some are realistic, some are abstract, and some are in-between. I love this quote: “…indistinctness is my forte…” I’ll have to remember the next time I have a story up for critique.

  2. Another thing… He can be very detailed in his paintings, or quite vague. Yet, his vague art is not impressionistic. xoxoxoxoxoxo

  3. I remember this art, and it’s definitely worth looking at again, and again.
    I listened to Schubert, again. That was fun!
    Thank you, dahling!
    (How’s Hera?) xoxoxoxo

    • Oh, yes it is… That’s the greatness with master painters. You can look at a painting and discover new elements every time!
      Thank YOY, my dahling!
      She’s happy and sends many tail wags and slobbery kisses!!!

  4. I’ve never seen so much Turner at one time, and I really like the way these images swing back and forth between the more abstract and the more realistic. It’s very instructive, in a way, because you begin to see how he thought. I’ve always loved his work, so thank you for doing this post. (I found it through Michael’s AMAGA blog).

  5. Wow! Schubert is a very fancy composer. I think he’s the fanciest so far, but all this classical music is new to me. I’ll just keep listening!
    J & J send all their fur to Hera! xoxoxo

  6. I do recognize a couple of works, but the rest are new to me, especially the blurry ones.
    Wonderful, wonderful…. and a poet, as well!
    Okay, so here’s the thing, I’m listening to Charles Mingus…yes, on Oannes. 😀
    I’ll listen to yours, next!

  7. Marianne,

    Check out Marina’s blog, for her inclusion and choice of art, poetry and music, all are an exceptional and magnificent treat. Turner’s paintings are to die for, and Jacqueline du Pré’s Dvořák Cello Concerto is magic, and with Daniel Barenboim conducting the London Symphony Orchestra, leaves one mesmerized. This whole blog can keep you listening to nothing but artistique beauty…



    • Awww, my dearest Jean-Jacques, thank you so much for your wonderful words and recommendation… I am humbled! On music, I went back to check my links… du Pré, Barenboim & Zukerman were playing Beethoven’s piano trio “Ghost” and the other video was with Schubert’s Unfinished symphony – Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Karajan. I hope these are what you see/hear too. Again thank you, my dearest friend! This means a lot! 🙂

  8. Music and art, especially Turner, I have a number af books about him and his work.
    Although he was rather cutting with his criticism of Constable (Unwarranted as it turned out) he is still one of the great interpreters of sea and landscapes.
    Daniel Barenboim, Jacqueline du Pré Beethoven & Schubert gosh you have managed to encompass some greats in this post 🙂

    • Yes, that incident with the daub of red he planted! It’s interesting reading stories of artist rivalries throughout history! On music… looking at his paintings brought these in mind (round Turner’s time too) and well du Pré is always precious! 😉

  9. I have spent many wonderful hours at the Turner Gallery in Tate Britain, London and seen many of these in the flesh/paint as it were – the range of his work you featured here is impressive especially when he strays into more impressionistic one.
    After several visits I started to pay attention to the smaller details of people in the paintings – Turner does some wonderful faces and figures – you’ll see them if you enlarge the images.

    The poem was a complete surprise so thank you for showing us.

    • I was also drawn into those faces. If I could only go back a few years to my last visit at the Tate… He was such a devoted artist and it shows! The poem was a surprise to me too! 😉😘

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