CURATOR, DAVID BLAYNEY BROWN: Turner painted this self-portrait probably around 1799, at a time when his career was taking off and when he’d been elected a member of the Royal Academy, the artists’ organisation in London where he’d studied as a painter, and of which he’d become elected a member. NARRATOR: At the time the Royal Academy was one of just two places in London where artists could show their work so it was important to become part of it. Curator David Blayney Brown. DAVID BLAYNEY BROWN: And there was something of a tradition for artists. When they became members to paint portraits of themselves to mark, a sort of, stage of transition in their professional life. And that’s probably why Turner painted this picture. He didn’t actually like his own appearance, he was quite self-conscious about it. He thought he was not very good-looking and this is the only self-portrait that he painted. And it’s likely, we think, that he’s rather flattered himself in doing so. He’s very elegantly dressed, really quite smart. He’s looking straight at us, his hair’s been neatly cut, his linen is fresh and clean and so on. None of these things quite conform to contemporary descriptions of Turner at the time but obviously he’s shown himself in the best possible light.