J.M.W. Turner, R.A. (1775-1851)
The Old Devil’s Bridge
Sketch in watercolor, 1802, 9” x 6”
Reproduced in photogravure by Alfred Dawson (1843-1931) in 1885
Gift of Lewis Chapman


J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) joined the Royal Academy Art Schools at age 14. He exhibited his first painting, Fishermen at Sea, at the Royal Academy in 1796, when he was twenty-one. Success came early, and in 1803, at the age of twenty-seven, he began work on the spacious gallery in his home. Turner was drawn to marine subjects. He found the sea an apt subject for an experimental artist obsessed with fleeting, atmospheric effects. John Ruskin, the eminent critic, referred to him as “the father of modern art” and encouraged him to publish engravings based on his paintings. Turner worked with the finest engravers of the period and established a tradition of publishing engravings that continued after his death. His massive outpouring of work is consolidated into a permanent exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London.