William Turnbull was born in Dundee, Scotland, in 1922. He worked as an illustrator in Dundee (1939-41) and studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1946-48). He now lives and works in London. William Turnbill sadly died in 2012.
Turnbull exhibited widely in Britain and abroad throughout his long career. His work is in public collections throughout the world. In 2005 the Yorkshire Sculpture Park staged a retrospective exhibition of Turnbull’s works entitled William Turnbull: Retrospective 1946–2003. This was followed by further exhibitions in Tate Britain in 2007.
Both painter and sculptor, Turnbull found sources for his work in other cultures and in classicism. For instance a Chinese mask, the gateway to a Japanese Shinto temple, a primitive artefact from the tribes of Borneo or a small Cycladic goddess were starting points for Turnbull. He was invested in abstraction and devoted his career to communicating ideals of this and conveying information in sculpture as economically and precisely as possible. Turnbull's sculptural oeuvre is both rigidly factual and yet permeates with classicism. This combination of formalism, stoicism to the ages and metamorphic content is both subliminal, reliable and monumental.