Joseph Mallord William Turner RA (23 April 1775 – 19 December 1851), known contemporarily as William Turner, was an English Romantic painter, print-maker and watercolourist. He is known for his expressive colourisations, imaginative landscapes and turbulent, often violent marine paintings.
A child prodigy, Turner studied at the Royal Academy of Arts from 1789, enrolling when he was 14, and exhibited his first work there at 15. During this period, he also served as an architectural draftsman. He earned a steady income from commissions and sales, which due to his troubled, contrary nature, were often begrudgingly accepted.
In 1796, Turner exhibited Fisherman at Sea, his first oil painting for the academy, of a nocturnal moonlit scene of The Needles off the Isle Of Wight, an image of boats in peril. Wilton said that the image: "Is a summary of all that had been said about the sea by the artists of the 18th century".
He left behind more than 550 oil paintings, 2,000 watercolours, and 30,000 works on paper. He had been championed by the leading English art critic John Ruskin from 1840, and is today regarded as having elevated landscape painting.