William Turner

William Turner
Born Nov. 12, 1789
Black Bourton, Oxfordshire, England
Died Aug. 7, 1862 (at age 72)
St John Street, Oxford, England
Nationality English/German
Field Watercolors
Works View Complete Works

William Turner was an English landscape painter who is often confused with his more famous namesake and contemporary, J.M. Turner. He was born in 1789 and died in 1862.

The confusion arises because both artists were active at the same time, shared the same surname, and dealt mainly with landscape painting. Despite the shared surname, skills and interests, they were not related to each other. William is often referred to as Turner of Oxford to distinguish him from J.M. Turner.


Turner was born in the village of White Bourton. His father died when he was just two years old, leaving his mother to bring up William and his two sisters. Eventually, William went to live with his father’s brother, who had the same name, when he was fourteen years old.

Newnham-on-Severn_from_Dean_Hill_-_William_Turner_of_OxfordHe had always shown a keen interest in drawing and painting, and went to study with the artist John Varley, who had established a reputation as a watercolor painter, in London. Turner was granted an exhibition of his works at the Royal Academy in 1807, his first public exhibition. Varley was a founder of the Watercolor Society, and Turner became a member of the society in 1808. He exhibited annually at the Society until his death.

After London

Turner returned to his native Oxford, and spent the remainder of his life in and around Oxford city. He produced numerous landscapes of the local area. When the local church in Shipton-on-Cherwell was knocked down, Turner was commissioned to produce the design for its replacement.


W-Turner-Oxford-Hinksey-HillTurner’s works are found in public collections in Oxford, London, New York and Dunedin, New Zealand. The Tate Gallery in London owns four Turner works. Many of his paintings are in private ownership.

He produced many landscapes of Oxford city and surrounding areas. Among the most famous are Oxford from Hinksey Hill, privately owned, and View of University Park Looking Towards New College, Oxford, which is now in the Museum of Metropolitan Art in New York.

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