In 1802, at the age of 26, Joseph Mallord William Turner became the youngest ever member of the Royal Academy. A prolific painter and watercolourist, his paintings began by combining great historical themes with the inspired visions of nature, but his experimentation with capturing the effects of light led him swiftly towards an unusual dissolution of forms. Turner was a constant traveller, not only within the British Isles but also throughout Europe, from the Alps to the banks of the Rhine, from northern France to Rome and Venice. His death in 1851 revealed not only his zealously guarded private life but also a will that left both his fortune and more than thirty thousand drawings, watercolours and paintings to the nation. In this profusely illustrated book, Olivier Meslay invites us to follow the development of Turner's incandescent art, a bridge between Romanticism and Impressionism and one of Britain's most remarkable contributions to art history.