TURNER, John Doman

1871 - 1938

John Doman Turner was born at Harbour Street, Lambeth, Surrey on 25 October 1871, second son of Edmund Turner (1838-7 November 1898), a carpenter & builder, and his wife Sarah Ann Staff (18 August 1836-), only daughter of Charles Staff of Norwich, who married at Ebenezer Chapel, Surrey Road, Norwich on 9 February 1859. In 1861, 22-year-old Edmund was living at 26 Distillery Street, Heigham, Norwich with 23-year-old Sarah and their newly born son Edmund, and a 15-year-old niece Ellen Staff, before moving to 4 Harbour Street, Lambeth for the birth of John in 1871. On 3 April 1881, John D. was a 9-year-old, still living at Harbour Street with his parents, 42-year-old John and 42-year-old Sarah Ann, with his elder brother, 20-year-old Edmund, born at Norwich, an assistant schoolmaster. Whilst John was working as a stockbroker's clerk, he received some artistic training through a sequence of some thirty letters 1908-1913, from artist Spencer Gore (1878-1914), this correspondence was used by Esther Freud in her novel 'The Sea House' and Turner wrote from Southwold Harbour, Suffolk on 29 May 1936 to James Bolivar Manson (1879-1945) about these letters. John married at St Thomas, Heigham, Norwich on 25 November 1893, Frances Elizabeth Birch, daughter of Norwich carpenter George Birch, at the time Turner was of St Jude's, Peckham, London. His deafness affected his decision to remain a stockbroker's clerk and not to adopt the insecurity of life as a full-time artist as in 1911, John was a 40-year-old stockbroker's clerk, living at 63 Dowton Avenue, Streatham Hill, Wandsworth, London with his 38-year-old wife Frances, who was born at Norwich. Spencer Gore proposed that his pupil John Doman Turner, who worked in pencil, charcoal, chalk, and watercolour but not in oils, as one of the 16 members of the Camden Town Group when it formed in 1911 and where Turner exhibited twelve works in three exhibitions between 1911 and 1912. Turner painted in the Walberswick and Southwold areas of Suffolk from 1911 until at least 1936, his works is included the 'Southwold Scroll' a view of this Suffolk town's Trinity Fair, painted from 1933 when he rolled up the scroll, following the showmen and women, to Laxfield, Stradbroke and Aldeburgh on their seasonal tour of East Anglia. The scroll 21 inches high by 123 feet long was acquired and restored by Adnams Brewery and now adorns Southwold's 'Swan' hotel's dining room. Before the First World War he painted around Mitcham, Surrey particularly on the annual visit of the fun-fair on Mitcham Common which were exhibited in London. His extant drawings of Ilfracombe, Tenby, Eastbourne, and Folkestone reflect holidays in these seaside towns. He completed at least three other panoramic scrolls of the Suffolk Coast, in 1930 depicted houses along Southwold's Ferry Road, next came a 123-foot 'A Dioramic Pictorial Record of a Suffolk Village' which detailed every dwelling in Walberswick and, after his Trinity Fair, a portrait of a travelling circus, which in now in the London Theatre Museum. John Doman Turner died from pneumonia at 63 Downton Avenue, Streatham on 3 January 1938, his age given incorrectly as 65, being survived by his widow. A major exhibition of his work was displayed in the University of Hull in 1997.

Works by This Artist