Romantic landscape painter, Joseph Mallord William Turner was engaged by Jack Fuller to capture the East Sussex landscape in drawings and watercolours.
It is possible that Turner and Fuller met at the Petworth estate of the Third Earl of Egremont who Fuller knew through their mutual involvement with the Sussex Yeomanry Cavalry. It is thought by some that Fuller's motivation was that he wanted illustrations for a history of East Sussex that he at one time considered writing. This project did not come to fruition.
However, between 1810 and 1818 Turner created approximately 13 watercolour landscapes in and around Fuller's estate, Rose Hill. Many of the sketches are in notebooks now in the collection of the Tate Britain gallery in London and can be viewed on their website. Fuller hired a number of Turner's sketches for 100 guineas and had them made into prints. All told, Fuller spent a vast sum of money on the works of Turner, who was already a successful artist and wealthy man at the time of their meeting.
Pevensey Bay from Crowhurst Park
The Vale of Ashburnham
The Vale of Heathfield
Brightling Observatory from Rose Hill Park
Battle Abbey the place where Harold fell
Views of Sussex
Five engravings of Turner's work were published in a volume called Views of Sussex. Fuller presented a volume of this work to the Royal Institution in March of 1819 and it is currently housed in the library there. These engravings are shown below.
St. Paul's Cathedral, London
Excerpts from: Standing in the Sun: A Life of J.M.W.Turner by Anthony Bailey,
"Joseph Mallord William Turner, Britain's greatest and most mysterious artist, was the son of a Covent Garden barber and a woman who died in Bethlehem mental hospital. During his lifetime (1775-1851), Turner achieved fame and fortune for a range of work encompassing seascape and landscape, immensely powerful oil paintings and intimate watercolours. His friend and colleague C. R. Leslie remembered him thus:
Turner was short and stout, and had a sturdy, sailor-like walk.
He might be taken for the captain of a river steamboat at first
glance; but a second would find more in his face than belongs
in any ordinary mind. There was that peculiar keenness of
expression in his eye that is only seen in men of constant habits
of observation. "
In his comprehensive biography of Turner, Bailey makes several specific references to John Fuller's patronage of the artist.
"Some of his southern country excursions in the decade from
1810 in Kent and Sussex were for oil-painting commissions,
and in several sketchbooks he made panoramic views of
Rosehill Park, the home of member of Parliament and
Jamaica landowner John 'Mad Jack' Fuller; the oils followed
the drawings closely, conveying the soft folds of the Sussex
downland where the landscape offered him the slightest
opening, he showed glimpses of the sea." pp. 176
"The private buyer was the mainstay of painters at this time. There were few individual dealers with galleries, and no great museums buying modern art. For his sales, Turner depended on a small number of wealthy landowners and country gentlemen like T. L. Parker, Sir John Leicester, John Fuller and [Walter] Fawkes." pp 217
" It can be said that Turner always acted like someone who had been poor when young... his fellow artists for the most part traded examples of his economical disposition...Others used to talk about how he often demanded his travel expenses - as on the occasion when he delivered his painting Rosehill Park, Sussex (c. 1810) to John Fuller MP, and asked for his cab fare. " pp 110
"In a scruffy little notebook used between 1809 and 1814 [Turner] made a comprehensive account of his financial worth and also placed in a pocket inside the cover a statement of various stock-holdings.
In this notebook, Turner recorded outstanding amounts, "owed him for pictures including £1000 by the Yorkshire landowner Walter Fawkes, £200 by John Fuller MP, and £400 by Sir John Leicester." pp. 108 &109.
"As well as the commissioned work, Fuller started a collection of the great artist's painting, especially those of Sussex. In all Fuller eventually owned 13 Turner watercolours and two oil paintings. They were proudly displayed at Rose Hill and his Devonshire Place home. They had cost him a huge sum. In Turners's account books there are three entries for the year 1810 against Fuller's name, which totalled £617 16s 3d and the following year a further £417 was entered. And there was much more to follow:"
Fuller of Sussex: A Georgian Squire, Geoff Hutchinson