Benjamin Brecknell Turner

The Church Oak, Hawkhurst (1852 - 1854)

About this artwork

Turner's photography records rural scenes that his contemporaries admired for their Englishness. The blasted English oak symbolises the strength and endurance of the English nation. The sophisticated city dwellers who took an interest in Turner's photography, would have appreciated this image not only for its patriotic message but for it also being 'the mirror of nature'.

Benjamin Brecknell Turner

Benjamin Brecknell Turner

Benjamin Brecknell Turner was a candle-maker by trade, who in his spare time produced some of the finest landscape photographs of the nineteenth century. A friend of Fox Talbot, he held a licence for Talbot's calotype process. Turner continued to exploit the technique for its aesthetic potential long after the invention of sharper glass plate processes in the early 1850s. As one reviewer noted in 1859, in comparison with the detail of glass processing, 'large paper productions are far more fit to be framed on the walls'. Turner's photographs are predominantly of well-loved picturesque sites.