Turner entered the Royal Academy Schools at the age of fourteen and began his career painting watercolors. His first employment was as a topographical draftsman, in which capacity he traveled around England in the early 1790s. In 1796 he exhibited his first oil painting, and by 1799 he was an associate member of the Royal Academy. He became a full Academician in 1802. Influenced by Reynolds and the eighteenth-century landscapist Richard Wilson, Turner intended to unite landscape with the noble genre of history painting. He traveled extensively in England and on the Continent and made innumerable sketches, many of which he used as the basis for paintings and prints. Turner’s style changed considerably over his long career, but, while his late works demonstrate the increasing dominance of abstract pictorial qualities, he never abandoned his interest in subject matter. His pictures have a poetic depth that is unsurpassed in British landscape painting.
Source: Art in The Frick Collection: Paintings, Sculpture, Decorative Arts, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1996.