Oxted & District History Society - Talk
Oxted & District History Society

Nicola Moorby, author and art expert, gave an illustrated lecture to the Oxted & District History Society on ‘Turner & the Thames.

Turner was born in London, went to school in Brentford, owned a pub in Wapping and lived at Isleworth, Twickenham and near Battersea Bridge.  The Thames inspired much of his work.  In 1805, Turner rented Syon Ferry House at Isleworth and spent the summer exploring the Thames by boat and on foot. He filled 5 sketch books and painted a series of vibrant watercolours and oils which captured light and movement.  After the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo, Turner toured Europe, painting scenes of European rivers.  This tour influenced his later paintings of the Thames, where the light effects look more Italian than British.  He used the new paint pigments available from the 1820s, particularly chrome yellow.

Turner was fond of traveling by steamer from London to Margate, where he had a common-law wife.  The cheap fares allowed the lower classes to visit Margate, criticised by contemporaries.  Turner was the son of a cockney barber and loved the Margate sunsets, made more intense by pollution from London.  Turner’s atmospheric light effects are seen in ‘The Fighting Temeraire’ and ‘The Great Western Railway’.  His painting of the Thames near Waterloo Bridge influenced Monet and Whistler.


Turner & the Thames by Nicola Moorby