Self-Portrait (c.1799)

Turner, Joseph Mallord William (1775-1851)

Oil on canvas, 74.3 x 58.4 cm
Tate BritainLondon

This confident-looking young man has just been elected an Associate of the Royal Academy. The portrait therefore marks an important moment in Turner’s life. At 24 years old, he was one of the youngest artists to achieve this status, reflecting his reputation as a painter with original ideas and impressive technical skill. It meant he could exhibit works at the Academy’s exhibitions without fear of rejection by its committee. Turner’s face might be familiar to you – in March 2020 the Bank of England issued a new design for the £20 note that features this self-portrait. (Tate)