Frontispiece to Liber Studiorum. 1818. Engraving. Tate, London.
J.M.W. Turner was a British artist of the Romantic era, often referred to as the “painter of light.” Turner, who started drawing at an early age, was admitted to the Royal Academy of Art at the young age of fourteen. Turner was classically trained, given instructions to paint from casts, nude models, hand-color engravings, etc.
Pembury Mill, Kent. Liber Studiorum. Engraving. University of Oxford
Turner is most remembered for his dramatic ship scenes, often showing nautical scenes during storms with high waves or after a storm with the parting of clouds and serene light. There was a constant play between the sublime and the potential for disaster.
The Battle of Trafalger. 1875. After JMW Turner by William Miller
Kilchurn Castle, Loch Ave. 1847. Engraving after JMW Turner by William Miller.
Land’s End, Cornwall. 1814. After JMW Turner. Intaglio print. Tate, London portrait of turner, engraved by W. Holl (after a self portrait by Turner)
While Turner dedicated most of his career to painting, from 1806 to 1819 he produced an extensive book of prints titled Liber Studiorum. The book consisted of seventy prints, including etchings, engravings and mezzotints. Turner’s prints were so popular that later editions have been produced since the artist’s death.
Turner was such a skilled draughtsman that many of his drawings were adapted into engravings. Various publishers have also reproduced his watercolors and oil paintings as prints over the years. In total, thousands of J.M.W. etchings and engravings have been published.
Turner is one of Britain’s most prized artists, and one of the most recognized landscape painters of all time. He was a mater draughtsman, whose prints remain a valuable asset to art collectors around the world.