Take the Turner Quiz

Time to test your knowledge of a man with great talent, and even greater quirks… Grab a pen and note down your choices, then follow the link to the answers page

Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘View of Orvieto, Painted in Rome’ 1828, reworked 1830
Joseph Mallord William Turner
View of Orvieto, Painted in Rome 1828, reworked 1830
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘George IV at St Giles’s, Edinburgh’ c.1822
Joseph Mallord William Turner
George IV at St Giles’s, Edinburgh c.1822
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Sea and Sky, ?English Coast’ c.1832
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Sea and Sky, ?English Coast c.1832
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘London: York House Water-Gate, Westminster, with York Buildings Waterworks’ 1794–5
Joseph Mallord William Turner
London: York House Water-Gate, Westminster, with York Buildings Waterworks 1794–5
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Self-Portrait’ c.1799
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Self-Portrait c.1799
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Moonlight over the Roman Campagna’ 1819
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Moonlight over the Roman Campagna 1819
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Tintern Abbey: The Crossing and Chancel, Looking towards the East Window’ 1794
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Tintern Abbey: The Crossing and Chancel, Looking towards the East Window 1794
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘The Angel Standing in the Sun’ exhibited 1846
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Angel Standing in the Sun exhibited 1846
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Fishermen at Sea’ exhibited 1796
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Fishermen at Sea exhibited 1796
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘The Scarlet Sunset’ c.1830–40
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Scarlet Sunset c.1830–40
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Norham Castle, Sunrise’ c.1845
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Norham Castle, Sunrise c.1845
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Woman and Tambourine, engraved by Charles Turner’ 1807
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Woman and Tambourine, engraved by Charles Turner 1807
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘The Fall of Anarchy (?)’ c.1833–4
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Fall of Anarchy (?) c.1833–4
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Entrance of the Meuse: Orange-Merchant on the Bar, Going to Pieces; Brill Church bearing S. E. by S., Masensluys E. by S.’ exhibited 1819
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Entrance of the Meuse: Orange-Merchant on the Bar, Going to Pieces; Brill Church bearing S. E. by S., Masensluys E. by S. exhibited 1819
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘The Hero of a Hundred Fights’ c.1800–10, reworked and exhibited 1847
Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Hero of a Hundred Fights c.1800–10, reworked and exhibited 1847
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Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘A Waterfall among Rocks’ c.1792
Joseph Mallord William Turner
A Waterfall among Rocks c.1792
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1. How did Turner demonstrate artistic talent at an early age?

a) By painting portraits of other children at school

b) By drawing with his finger in milk spilt on a tea tray

c) By sketching with charcoal before he could write his own name 

2. Which of the following did Turner dislike throughout his life?

a) His own appearance

b) Other artists

c) His father 

3. Turner was known for his terrible rages and boorish behaviour. Often mistrusting his clients, what did Turner do?

a) Sell fake versions of his paintings

b) Spy on visitors to his gallery through a peephole

c) Sign his paintings under a different name 

4. What did Tate find in one of Turner’s sketchbooks?

a) A watercolour sketch of his pet dog

b) A remedy for dodgy bowels

c) A poem he wrote to his mistress 

5. Which of the following was one of Turner’s hobbies?

a) Fishing

b) Gambling

c) Song-writing 

6. Keen to immerse himself in nature, what did Turner claim to do?

a) Have sailors tie him to the mast of a boat during a major winter storm

b) Camp-out in his garden for six months of the year

c) Speak to wild animals whilst walking through the Alps 

7. While hugely prolific in his lifetime, producing more than 30,000 sketches, drawings and watercolours, what was Turner not successful at?

a) Timekeeping

b) Dressing well

c) Managing his finances 

8. In the later years of his career, Turner’s art became more radical and experimental. Which unusual material(s) did he introduce to his paint?

a) Honey and milk

b) Thames water

c) Tobacco juice and stale beer 

9. From 1805 to 1811, Turner lived along the Thames at Isleworth and Hammersmith and had his own sailing boat. What did the fellow boatmen nickname him?

a) Admiral

b) Turner of the Thames

c) Jolly Joseph 

10. What did Turner have health issues with?

a) His teeth

b) His sense of smell

c) His hearing 

11. What is Turner rumoured to have done every day?

a) Sing the national anthem three times

b) Paddle in the River Thames

c) Drink up to eight pints of rum and milk 

12. JMW Turner never married. Which of the following did he keep for company?

a) Tail-less cats

b) An imaginary friend

c) A talking parrot 

13. Turner died in 1851, aged 76. At his request he was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral, where he lies next to Sir Joshua Reynolds. Which of the following are rumoured to be his last words?

a) I’m going, but I’m going in the name of the Lord

b) A party! Let’s have a party

c) The Sun is God

See how you did and Find out the answers…

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