The elegant, atmospheric works of British artist George Turner earned him the title of ‘the Derbyshire Constable.’ Loyal to his home county, Turner was a renowned artist and educator, who left his mark on the Derbyshire art scene during the latter half of the 19th century.
Turner’s artistic endeavours were encouraged from a young age by his father, who was an enthusiastic art lover. It is believed Turner was predominantly a self-taught artist. He would then, in turn, lend his artistic knowledge to becoming an art teacher at the Kendal School of Art. He would take on his own son, William Lakin Turner (1867-1929) as a pupil, as well as other future artists such as Louis Bosworth Hurt (1856-1929).
Yet it is Turner’s “attractive” views of the Derbyshire countryside for which he is most well-known. Upon looking at Turner’s work, it is no wonder they are compared to the effusive, naturalist works of John Constable (1776-1837). Each tenet of nature is given the chance to be expressed in the most ebullient of manners on his canvases. They are united, then, by a sense of harmony in his ability to draw the eye towards the centre of the canvas, to bring attention to both the foreground and the background.
An oak tree which leans with a dignified stoop does not quell the majesty of the far-off hills. Turner christens them with a dash of bright light which shimmers in through the tempestuous clouds. The same sunlight stretches across a verdant patch of grass in the foreground, creating unity across the canvas. Figures added to his scenes add a sense of the rustic in their clothing and actions, often leading horses or fishing. Buildings are subservient to nature, often whimsical, stout statures of brick and hay.
The same treatment Constable afforded to his beloved Dedham Vale, Turner turned to the Derbyshire countryside. This was much recognised and celebrated. Turner exhibited with Royal Society of Artists in Birmingham on numerous occasions, as well as at the Royal Society of British Artists. His works became ‘well-known’ and his style was ‘much appreciated.’ He was a dependable artist, and had earned himself a ‘high reputation,’ according to the art magazines.
Turner remained loyal to Derbyshire his whole life. He served on the council of the Derby Art Gallery. His works now remain as snapshots of Derbyshire country life in the 19th century. A number can now be found in Derby Museum and Art Gallery.
Born in Cromford, Derbyshire, Britain.
Married Eliza Lakin.
Son William Lakin Turner born.
Wife Eliza Turner died. Moved to Kirk Ireton, Britain.
Married Kate Stevens Smith.
Died in Idridgehay, Derbyshire, Britain.