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William Turner of Oxford OWS (1789-1862)


William Turner, OWS (1789-1862), known as 'William Turner of Oxford'

Though William Turner became known as ‘Turner of Oxford’ to distinguish him from J M W Turner, his work is very different from that of his better known namesake. While J M W Turner presented the natural world in all its dramatic variety, Turner of Oxford captured its intense stillness.

William Turner was born at Black Bourton, near Bampton, Oxfordshire on 12 November 1789. From 1803, he lived with his uncle, William Turner, at the manor house of Shipton-on-Cherwell, near Woodstock, and probably received his first drawing lessons from William Delamotte in Oxford. Following his move to London in 1804, he became one of the earliest apprentices of John Varley, living at his house in Broad Street, Soho, and working alongside William Henry Hunt, John Linnell and William Mulready.

Turner began to exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1807, and in the following year became the youngest member of the Society of Painters in Water Colours, to which he remained faithful until his death. He was also an early member of the Society for the Study of Epic and Pastoral Design (founded in 1808 by the Chalon brothers and Francis Stevens), though he resigned after thirteen meetings.

About 1812, Turner returned to Oxfordshire, and probably lived with his uncle at Shipton.

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