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Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) Turner became known as ‘the painter of light’, due to his interest in brilliant colours as a vital component in his landscapes and seascapes. He was a prolific painter of watercolours and oils, and also made engravings; most of his work was bequeathed to the nation, including nine paintings now in the National Gallery, London. Born near Covent Garden, London, Turner entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1789. He found inspiration in 17th century Dutch artists such as Willem van der Velde, and landscapes by Claude and Richard Wilson. In 1840 he met the critic John Ruskin, who became a great champion of his work. At the time Turner’s free, expressive style was criticised, but it is now widely appreciated.