Charles E. Turner (1883 - 1965)
Eddowes Turner was born in Lancaster on the 14 September 1883 and
described by E.H.H. Archibald in his Dictionary
of Sea Painters (1982)as "a reticent man, it is difficult to
find out much about him".
was based in Liverpool and specialised in landscape and marine views.
in watercolours and oils, Turner exhibited at the Royal Academy in
London as well as Manchester and Liverpool. Turner fought in both the
First and Second World Wars, as a captain in the Fleet Air Arm,
combining active service with service as a war artist, signing his work
C.E. Turner. Inter-war Turner had developed series of illustrations for
Thomas Forman and Cunard, becoming a ‘series of excellent postcards’.
worked for for commercial clients including Dunlop Tyres and Churchill
Cigar Boxes but his best-known work, however, dates from the two wars.
Alongside paintings demonstrating his first-hand experience of combat
he produced illustrations for Illustrated
London News and Sphere
magazines. These included ‘closely observed and highly detailed’ naval
actions, which presented ‘a heightened sense of the drama of events
such as this, and these appeared as double-page spreads’.
Witton recalled that in 1943 Turner by then aged sixty joined HMS Woolston at
Rosyth on one of the East Coast Convoys to Sheerness on the Thames
Estuary and back. He was a guest of the officers in their quarters at
the stern. The fine painting on the left (Oil on canvas, NMM BHC 3731,
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London) with Woolston approaching the Forth
Bridge with its pennant number clearly visible on her stern dates from
For many years he lived at Looe in Cornwall and he died on April 14 1965. Many of his oil and watercolour paintings of the two World Wars are preserved in the collection of the National Maritime Museum, London, and at the IWM, London. You can see a slideshow of 21 of his paintings on the "Your Paintings" web site established by the BBC in partnership with the Public Catalogue Foundation.
Frank Witton at his home in St Albans in 2013 holding a print of a painting of HMS Woolston escorting an East Coast convoy by Charles E. Turner
Photographed by Bill Forster