Happy Birthday J M W Turner – Grand Master of the Elements – not all at Sea

Today is the birthday of British Romantic Landscape, seascape, watercolourist and printmaker  Joseph Mallord William Turner(b. London 1775 – 1851).  Turner understood the elements, for example when in 1834 parliament caught fire, Turner witnessed it.  He also sketched shipwrecks, storms and other natural phenomena like fog, rain, storms and above all the light and strove to capture it .  He was fascinated by the way light acted upon the elements, giving them a sort of spiritual majesty. Turner loved the sea and it is said that he once had himself tied to a mast of a ship for a few hours to better understand storms.  A romantic tale which is  probably a myth and takes ‘method’ acting to new heights.

Turner was a master of the elements and loved the Dutch seascapes.  He  conveys emotion through his paintings, and an incredible affinity with natures elements.  The sea was in his blood.  He was brought up by the Thames and it would prove to be a great source of inspiration to his work.  In this great video, Turner’s relationship wiith the natural elements is further explained.

A past birthday post about Turner by me here

Another of my posts featuring Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire   here

Video by

Her Aeolian Harp  with thanks!
Turner’s life here and website here

22 thoughts on “Happy Birthday J M W Turner – Grand Master of the Elements – not all at Sea

  1. Happy Birthday, Turner, for sure. He is truly one of the greats with seascapes, especially. Thank you for this video, Lynda. I remember sitting mesmerized in front of a PBS documentary on Turner a few years back. I am chuckling about the tieing to the mast story you mentioned, above, because his paintings do always make me “feel” as though I am there in a painting. I remember viewing one of his paintings at the Art Institute in Chicago and actually wrapping my arms around myself for the chill this HUGE masterpiece brought over me as I stood there in his moment with a tumultous sea. Great post! Thank you!

    1. I love the way he uses colour too Leslie, he really understood nature and especially appreciated it’s wild side 🙂 There is a 3D recreation of Turners gallery at Tate Britain on line http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/turner/gallery3d.htm#top The gallery is based upon a painting by George Jones, the only artist Turner allowed to sketch or paint his personal gallery. I think the colour on the wall acts as a perfect foil for those paintings. Turner lashed to a ships mast made me smile too! What a way to get an understanding of the sea and the stormy weather! Glad you liked this post Leslie!

  2. I do like his works. There is something almost mystical about many of his paintings, the way the colours and lines often fade into each other.
    That was a fascinating little video too.
    The Turner Contemporary has just opened in Margate, Kent, so his name and creativity live on. I bet he would be surprised and pleased.

    1. The gallery sounds really exciting Wendy – I’ve just had a look on line http://www.turnercontemporary.org/ It is known that Turner loved Margate, and according to Ruskin “the skies over Thanet are the loveliest in all Europe” The site of the The original site of Mrs Booth’s Guest House where Turner loved to stay is now The Turner Contemporary. What a lovely homage to this great artist. Glad you like his work too Wendy 🙂

        1. I never knew about Turner’s connection with Margate until you mentioned it (one of my favorite artists – Tracey Emin was brought up there)

          1. lol – can you imagine if Turner and Ermin met? I wonder what artwork they would create together?!!

            1. What a combination 🙂 Emin could stitch his sunsets together and call it ‘Every son I ever saw setting’ and Turner would paint a painting of himself tied to a ship. perhaps called ‘Out on the Lash!’ Ooooh I do love a good pun (a bad one is even better though 😀 )

                1. Don’t think Turner would be laughing though – he’d be too busy ‘suffereing’ for his art lol It also made me think of the old ‘Wild Boys’ video by Duran Duran, the one where Simon Le Bon’s lashed to a wheel getting all his hair messed up lol

    1. According to Ruskin, the squashed tomatoes and colourful rotting veg of Covent Market influenced his use of colour! I fully expect to see some sunsets and seascapes from you Richard – being surrounded by all that food yourself 😀

  3. Yes, I like him too. I can’t think of many peole disliking his work, unless they are strongly against his style for some reason.
    Are you posting anything about that British artist who died yesterday – Carrington? Sounds like she had a fascinating life.

    1. Leonora Carrington – surrealist artist. Just looked at the news item on her. Know her work, but didn’t know she was still alive – died aged 94! She featured in my post ‘Angels of Anarchy’ exhibition I went to which was about the work of women surrealists. https://echostains.wordpress.com/2009/10/09/angels-of-anarchy-women-surrealists-exhibition-2/ Wonderful work by these women who battled in a man’s world! May do another post on this – thanks Jessica!

  4. Hallo. I have an invite to send you to a private viewing of this exhibition: designthefuture.info. If you fancy it, please email me (dj at fatroland.com) and I’ll get straight back to you. Thanks.

    1. Thanks Fat Roland I’d love to go but can’t make this this week. Appreciate the offer though and if you have anything else coming up in Manchester City centre please let me know 🙂

  5. Re: Simon Le Bon getting windy and wet (the replies were getting one letter vertically inclined!) – think I’ll stick with a wet and windy Turner – lol!!

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