Joseph Mallord William Turner RA (23 April 1775–19 December 1851) was an English Romantic landscape painter, watercolourist and printmaker. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting. He is commonly known as "the painter of light" and his work regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism.
Turner was born in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, England. His father, William Turner (1738–7 August 1829), was a barber and wig maker. His mother, Mary Marshall, became increasingly mentally unstable, possibly due in part to the early death of Turner's younger sister, Mary Ann Turner, in 1786. Mary Marshall died in 1804, after having been committed in 1799 to St Luke's Hospital and then to the Bethlem Royal Hospital, a mental asylum otherwise known as "Bedlam".
Possibly due to the load placed on the family by these problems, the young Turner was sent to stay with his maternal uncle, Joseph Mallord William Marshall, in Brentford in 1785, which...