JWM Turner's cryptic 'last words' exposed ahead of new £20 note launch

The English Romantic painter is best known for his expressive colourisations, imaginative landscapes and violent marine-based art. Bank of England governor Mark Carney announced back in 2016 that Turner was to appear on the new British polymer banknote, but it has taken nearly four years to come to fruition. The artist’s most famous piece, The Fighting Temeraire, will be the backdrop of the note.

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Due to being known as “the painter of light” because of his brilliant colour work, Turner’s image will be accompanied by the phrase “Light is therefore colour”.

Turner was a fascinating character right down to his last ever words, which he apparently uttered on his deathbed in 1851.

His last words were “The Sun is God”, according to historian Norman Davies in his 1998 book ‘Europe: A History’.

It is unclear what he could have meant by this, but Andrew Wilton cast doubt on whether he said it at all in his 2006 book ‘Turner in his Time’.

READ MORE: Margate? No, JMW Turner liked the real Deal

JMW TurnerJMW Turner will be on the new £20 (Image: GETTY)

bank of england £20 noteBank of England unveils their plan for the new £20 note (Image: GETTY)

Turner died of cholera at the home of Sophia Caroline Booth, in Cheyne Walk in Chelsea, London, on December 19, 1851.

He had lived with Mrs Booth after her second husband died for around 18 years, and was even referred to as “Mr Booth”.

He was buried in St Paul’s Cathedral, where he lies next to Sir Joshua Reynolds, according to David Blayney Brown.

Turner’s friend, the architect Philip Hardwick, son of his tutor Thomas Hardwick, was in charge of making funeral arrangements.

The Fighting TemeraireThe Fighting Temeraire by JMW Turner (Image: GETTY)

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