John Doman Turner (1871-1938) is a recognised member of a highly prominent group of English painters, but his life’s work and accomplishments are not as visibly recognised as other prestigious artists. As a result, a movement has been launched by father and son duo, James and Stephen Robertson in an effort to bring more attention to the talent and achievements of John Doman Turner.
Turner was a British painter and member of the Camden Town Group, a prominent and elite organisation in the early 1900’s that consisted of highly talented, upper crust painters. One of it’s members Spencer Gore taught Doman Turner to paint during the years 1908-1913. The interesting part is he only tutored Turner through letters.
Turner is known to be deaf so he sent back his paintings to Gore for him to give feedback and comments on it. He would pay five shillings per lesson for Gore’s thoughtful instruction.
“In addition to the letters, I have always kept a number of early sketches in a portfolio, by themselves, as Gore had scribbled – faintly, in pencil, all sorts of advice, & curses, with regard to their technique. If placed under the sketches in an exhibition they might be of great interest to some people” John Doman Turner writes.
His passion for painting was visible in his work which included paintings of houses, people, village fairs and even scrolls. The scrolls painted by him became the documents of village life and in total he painted 4 scrolls including the ‘Walberswick Scroll’.
His work Trinity Fair that depicts the Southwold fair in detail is kept on the walls of a room at The Swan Hotel, Southwold while the Ferry Road scroll is kept safely in the Southwold Museum.
In the early 1980s James came across a painting by this member of the Camden Town Group and went along to an exhibition at Christie’s to find more about the artist. He discovered that there wasn’t much information available about British painter John Doman Turner which triggered his curiosity and led him to go on a spree to find more about the artist.
Stephen didn’t take much interest in what his father was doing until he decided to find a gift for his father-something related to John Doman Turner. In 2012 he searched over the internet and found the only thing written about the artist was a Wikipedia page, which was written by his father himself.
From this point onwards, both father and son started a mission to explore more about the painter lost in the history of art. Both of them want to spread the word to the masses and bring forward those who know anything about the painter to contribute in creating a complete story about his life and works.