(Woodstock, Oxfordshire, (* 31 July 1774 - 1 August 1857, London)
Turner was born at Woodstock in Oxfordshire. His father, also named Charles, was an excise officer, and his mother, Jane was a former paid companion to the Duchess of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace. Following his father's death, his mother returned to the Duchess's service, with the result that Turner had access to the gallery at the palace. He moved to London in about 1789, where he worked for John Boydell, a major print publisher, and enrolled in the Royal Academy Schools.
He made his first mezzotint in 1795, working from a portrait of John Kirby, the keeper of Newgate, painted by his friend John James Masquerier, and immediately afterwards produced a stipple engraving after a portrait of Joshua Reynolds. Turner's biographer, Alfred Whitman, dismisses a tradition in the artist's family that he was apprenticed to George Jones, who was in fact younger than Turner, but suggests that he may have come under the influence of George Jones' father John Jones, who was a notable exponent both of mezzotint and stipple, without making any mention of any formal apprenticeship. In 1798, he was employed by the publisher Edward Orme to produce the first plates for his "transparencies", a new type of varnished and coloured print designed to be illuminated from behind.
In 1801, he issued, with great success, a print of Napoleon, apparently based on a portrait by Masquerier painted on a visit to Paris, and was involved in the exhibition of a gigantic painting, "Bonaparte Reviewing the Consular Guards," also ostensibly by Masquerier. Turner's annotated copy of the exhibition catalogue, however, indicates that there was an element of deception to the enterprise, and that Masquerier had never in fact seen Napoleon. Turner himself had executed much of the painting.
While a student at the Royal Academy, he had become a friend of J.M.W. Turner (not related), and in 1806, he made a mezzotint of his "Shipwreck." This ambitious plate -- 82 cm across. -- was the first individual print to be made after one of the artist's paintings. In that year he also began work on the Liber Studiorum, working in mezzotint over outlines etched by J.M.W. Turner. After the issue of the first part he also took over as publisher. The two men worked closely on the plates, J.M.W. Turner adding new ideas to the proofs as the work progressed. Charles Turner continued to work on the project until 1809, when a quarrel over money led to the end of the arrangement: according to his own account, the two men did not speak for the next 19 years. He did however engrave and publish a plate after J.M.W. Turner's "Vesuvius in Eruption" in 1815, and engraved five plates for the artist's "Rivers of England from 1823 onwards." The relationship seems eventually to have been mended, and Charles Turner was one of the executors of J.M.W. Turner's will.
Although predominantly working in mezzotint, Turner also produced stipple engravings, aquatints, and etchings. The mezzotints themselves were worked over an etched background. Although his work covers a wide range of genres, his main interest was portraiture; Whitman lists 637 portraits, out of a total of 921 prints. He was exceptionally prolific, his ability to produce work quickly allowing him to successfully exploit the market for images of people were currently attracting public attention.
He was appointed "Mezzotinto Engraver in Ordinary to his Majesty" in 1812, and was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1828. Up to that point he had only exhibited paintings and drawings at the Academy, but from then on also showed prints. From about 1836, his output declined, and he exhibited no more mezzotints after 1843.
He died at his home at 50, Warren Street, London, on 1 August 1857, and was buried in Highgate Cemetery.
English engraver, son of Charles Turner (1741-c.1793) and his wife, Jane, née Davies. His father was an excise officer, whose career and health were ruined when he temporarily mislaid some official documents. Through his mother's influence he had access to the famous gallery at Blenheim Palace. He entered the schools of the Royal Academy in 1795; and, engraving in stipple in the manner of Bartolozzi, he was employed by Alderman Boydell. His finest plates, however, are in mezzotint, a method in which he engraved J. M. W. Turner’s “Wreck” and twenty-four subjects of his Liber studiorum, Reynold’s “Marlborough Family,” and many of Raeburn’s best portraits, including those of Sir Walter Scott, Lord Newton, Dr Hamilton, Professors Dugald Stewart and John Robinson, and Dr Adam. He also worked after Lawrence, Shee and Owen. He was an admirable engraver, large, broad and masterly in touch; and he reproduced with great fidelity the characteristics of the various painters whose works he translated into black and white. In 1828, he was elected an associate of the Royal Academy.
English mezzotint engraver and draughtsman. Turner moved to London in about 1789, was apprenticed to the engraver John Jones, enrolled in the Royal Academy Schools and worked for Alderman John Boydell, the important print publisher. Turner was skilled in stipple and aquatint as well as mezzotint, his diverse talents producing a large range of subjects covering topography and genre. His main interest, though, was portraiture, and the greater part of the more than six hundred plates he created during his career, were portraits. His close friendship with J.M.W. Turner, led to his engraving much of the artist's work, and to his engraving twenty-four of the plates for Liber Studiorum. He engraved many of the finest Henry Raeburn portraits, including Sir Walter Scott. A remarkable set of his engravings, "The Rivers of England", published between 1823 and 1827, confirmed his great ability as a landscape artist.
Charles Turner (1773-1857): Conflicting sources give * (31 August 1774), (1773).
View painter's work: Charles Turner (1773 or 1774-1857)