Arno, A Villa Among Trees and Bushes
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. ( London 1775 - London 1851 )
Turner was born near Covent Garden in London. His first job was as an assistant to an architect, and his early works reveal the influence of many eighteenth-century topographical artists. At the age of fourteen he decided to become an artist, and began to study at the Royal Academy Schools in 1789. His early oeuvre consisted of drawings and watercolours on paper, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1790; it was some years before he felt ready to start painting in oils. Turner exhibited his first oil painting, Fishermen at Sea, at the Royal Academy in 1796, when he was twenty-one. Success came relatively early, and in 1803, at the age of twenty-seven, he began work on the spacious gallery in his house in Harley Street, which not only advertised his achievements but provided a more sympathetic setting for his pictures than the crowded walls of the Great Exhibition Room at the Royal Academy. Nevertheless, he continued to exhibit at the RA and, unlike a number of other British artists, remained involved with the Academy throughout his career. He become an Associate Member in 1799, aged twenty-four, and a full Member in 1802, as well as being elected Professor of Perspective in 1811, and appointed acting President in 1845. In 1840 Turner met the critic John Ruskin, who became the great champion of his work, writing: “'We have had, living amongst us and working for us, the greatest painter of all time”.