Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)
St Paul's Cathedral - Virtual Tour
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The statue of the celebrated artist J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) is by Patrick McDowell RA. In it, the sculptor imagines his subject as pausing during the creation of a painting...
He rests back to contemplate his work, with a considering and somewhat visionary look on his face. In a moment he will lean forward and touch in a detail. It's a well-chosen and characteristic pose.
In his lifetime, Turner's scruffy figure was well-known around London. When hanging paintings at the Royal Academy he would turn up on varnishing day, with brushes and colours about him, and would proceed to make minute adjustments to his pictures.
"He seems to paint with tinted steam, so evanescent, and so airy. The public think he is laughing at them, and so they laugh at him in return."
- John Constable, letter to George Constable, 12th May 1836.