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Turner Airbrush Art

One of many we hope!

One of many we hope!

We have been admiring Turner art pieces for some time. We have come close to purchasing a few pieces, but this weekend seemed right so we made the plunge. Mel and I picked up a nice mirrored piece of pinkish parrots at the second Sunday antique fair in Sacramento. I have spent a couple of hours now researching Turner and the artist seems to be an enigma just like Carlo of Hollywood. I don’t know what it is about artists of that era but it is soo darn hard to find anything out about them. The image below is what I found online on the back of a Turner piece (I recreated the tag because the original was in sad shape).

Turner info

Here is what I can tell so far: First, Turner was not a specific artist but a company named Turner Manufacturing Company out of Chicago IL.. Turner Mfg. hired artists to paint its artwork using its unique style of airbrush and watercolor. Turner also sold mirrors, mirrored frames, art, etc. inexpensively. I have also read that Turner Mfg. sold furniture and they would give this artwork to purchasers of their furniture as a sort of thank you. This is just what I was able to find by researching but I am not sure if it is all true and correct, none the less I know how the art makes me feel. Every time I see a piece by Turner it seems to calm me. The soft lines and edges are just relaxing to look at. I really like Turner’s landscape scenes but they are very hard to come by.

Look at the rolling hills and the soft colors.

Look at the rolling hills and the soft colors.

T4

Maybe somewhere in the Everglades?

T5
Of course, Turner Mfg. is most known for its tropical birds like Flamingos, Parrots and Cranes. Here are a few to sample:

T6

Appears we have a dispute or maybe they are courting, who knows but it is a cool image.

T8

such a classic image.

T7

T9

Similar to the Flamingos. This would look great in a Tiki room.

Turner Mfg. produced many images such as flowers, birds, southern bells, jungle cats and scenic images. It is clear to me that Turner’s art is a true collectors piece that would make any retro decor more complete. It is amazing to me that skill like this has no history and no one to take credit for the very skilful use of this medium.

tf

The black back ground makes the image stand out.

TSB

We hope to acquire the Flamingos piece next. It is always nice to diversify your collection and not stick to just one thing. Mel and I enjoy collecting many things and the great thing is that it makes each trip to the antique store/fair a scavenger hunt. As we add to our collection we will try to add to the info known about Turner Mfg. and try to help shed light on these fantastic pieces of art.

Source:

http://www.antique-marks.com/turner-watercolor-painting-cockatiels.html

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75 responses »

  1. Great info- thanks for helping me ID my Turner a few months back!

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  2. I didn’t know that about Turner art, thank you much for posting that info! I have two pieces a small flower print and a Southern Belle (I love her so).

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  3. Such a gifted artist!!!

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  4. I am so pleased to see at least some information about these beautiful prints. I have many and would love to share them with you on facebook. I have yet to find the evasive panther print but I do have one on the back of another print in black and white.

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  5. I really enjoyed your wonderful site! Thank you for creating it. We’ve been collecting Turners since the late 1980s and have 30 of them, ranging in size from the larger Flamingo and Deer prints, to some Cockatoos & Flamingos only 6 inches in size. We also have a black and white prototype of the elusive Turner Panther, which we found by accident on the reverse side of another print. Always check the back sides, you never know what you will discover, since Turner apparently re-used their paper.

    We have painstakingly restored the original Turner frames and found a shop when we lived in Seattle which could duplicate the etched lines in the mirrors in the frames. It can be done. Information on Turner has been very difficult to obtain. We now live in Milwaukee, closer to Turner’s “home base” of Chicago, but still find info scarce. I have our prints on my FB Photo Albums, if anyone would care to friend and view.

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    • I came across 2 pictures thrown out at the curb today. i picked them up because of the frames, i figured that I can use them to frame my own paintings. Much to my surprise, I noticed a different colour beside the pictures that hung in these frames. I turn over the pictures and notice there are numbers on the frame, I carefully take out all the nails to see what is behind the pictures. There is a painting in both frames in what appears to be Turners. I have never seen anything like it, they are both of a southern couple.

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    • I’m just reading your input for the first time. I left a message 8/31 telling Hepcat that I have the Turner Black Panther. Please read my message (#41). I would love to hear from you. Len.

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  6. My father has a cherished flamingo mirror from Turner Mfg Co that his parents had since he was a child. Our house burned down when I was a kid and the print inside was never the same. His birthday is soon and I am looking to replace the print for sentimental reasons. Do any of you all know where I can buy a reprint? We tried getting it professionally scanned but it’s pretty terrible. Any help would be appreciated. The ones on Ebay don’t have the mirror cut out—and I would just think someone has to have a better scan than I have. Thanks again!

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  7. Pam.muller53@yahoo

    I just found out today about my turner painting thanks to your info. I bought this pic about 30years ago at an estate auction in al. I have always loved it. It’s the rolling hills with the man and woman that seem to be in the clouds. Thanks for your info. Am looking forward to any more info you might come across. Oct.13,2013

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  8. Thank you for your information. My boyfriend and I got a Turner mirror with Flamingos that had been at my sister’s house, then Mother’s, and now to us. We have a retro, mid-century style house and it fits beautifully. We have an interest in Art and finding artists that are difficult to identify, and have found some interesting paintings and pottery by known artists who worked with/for or were commissioned by home decorations manufacturers such as Turner. We will try to research this further. Thanks again.

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  9. Hi, I am trying to figure out the era of the Turner Flamingo mirrors. Are the 30s? 40s? 50s? Thanks! Rose

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  10. Hello, this is the closest real info I have come across, yes it is hard to find any history on these pieces! I have about 25-30 pieces, flower prints and the bird prints (just got a pair of swans I hadn’t seen before!). My mother gave me her collections of the flowers and I have added to that, plus the birds. I had been told that the prints were originally just sold as frames, and the prints were just what was inside..I didn’t think that was right though. It makes sense that it was manufacturing company, hence the lack of info on any artist named Turner.
    Thanks for the research! Happy hunting!

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  11. Im having trouble finding info on a vintage airbrush artwork piece of prancing zebras in a tropical setting signed PETERS in lower right corner.frame appears customer for this piece and is faux bamboo.could it be from Turner?

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  12. Ahhh, at last I have some answers to “who” created one of my favorite wall hangings. It was originally hanging in my mother-in-law’s (who passed away this past Aug. days before her 100th birthday)guest room. It always made me happy to look at and I asked her how she came by it. She told me when the small town MN dentist closed his office he gave it to her (or they bought it at a sale). It has always reminded me of a Grant Wood landscape. And she gave it to me after downsizing into an apartment. I just today opened up the back of the picture to clean the glass and noticed that over the years the picture had slipped down covering the name “Turner” in the corner. Thus began my search and answer found on this site. Thanks. (Mine is of rolling hills sans the people. I just want to hop into that picture and live in the cottage!)

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  13. Deborah Schwagler

    I have a flamingo mirror that was my grandma’s. It was a gift to her from my grandpa years ago and looks just like these posted.

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  14. I have two that I picked up about 35 years ago. Both of white wading birds and palm trees. Very plain and I believe valueless wood frames on both. I was thinking about having them framed in a cool deco frame design, something in a brushed silver, but am not eager to see the cost. Financially nuts but so am I…a bit.

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  15. I have a Turner Wall Accessary mirror #4480 & 422680 but the glass is a hard plastic. Was the original mirror replaced or was that how it was originally made?

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  16. Christine Hurst

    I love to watch the Antique Roadshow and I have always wondered about some pictures hanging up in my house that had belonged to my parents who are deceased now. They are by Turner. One of them is the flamingos with a mirrored frame. They have been in this house for years. I was adopted in 1971 and it was on the wall then. The frame is old and falling apart, but wondering the value if this picture. It’s a beautiful picture

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  17. I have several Turner Mfg Co mirrors that I’ve collected over the past 50 years. I no longer have the space to display them as I’ve moved from my own house to a small senior flat. If you are interested I’ll be happy to send you pictures.
    I’m interested in selling them for a fair price..I’ve offered them on eBay and no one has come close to the $250 you’d sell them for. I realize the wholesale price would be less but if you’re interested please send an email to:
    mailto:plantcrone@gmail.com

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  18. Also, as a FYI, these aren’t really airbrushed on but are decals applied to the back side of glass which was then coated with silvered (mirror) paint. I took one of my mirrors to a refinisher to see if it could be resilvered..holes in the silvering that makes the mirror. They refused to touch it.couldn’t fix the scratches for fear they’d mess up the decal painting. These are even older than the first mirror I purchased..from the 1940s.

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    • Hello Elle,

      Thanks so much for reaching out to us about your Turner’s. We have a couple of them in our shop. They are very cool and flamingo anything from that era is so popular. Unfortunatly we are not in the market for anymore of his pieces. I appreciate you contacting us. I wish you the best of luck on selling them!

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  19. Hello, just trying to figure out the value on our large Turner flower painting. It has a corkwood frame and on the back has the turner tag and says “1854 E:45 Magnificence”

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    • Hi Tara. We don’t provide appraisals. Try calling a local antique shop to see if they have an appraiser & what their appraisal fee is. Or, you can check completed listings on eBay to see what something similar sold for.

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  20. I had an ocean scene of waves by turner years ago sold it have not seen one since any one else have one or know of this print

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  21. I have the 6th one from the top of the two Cockatoos facing each other. Do you know how many of these were produced and in what year? Thank you for the info on Turner Mfg. Also could you give me an estimate of it’s value. Thank you. Jean

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  22. I have been collecting Turners for about 30 years. About 25 years ago I bought what I was told was the rarest Turner of all. I bought it from dealers who specialized in deco and they were very knowledgeable. It is a black panther on a large tree branch surrounded by jungle flora/fauna. In addition to the standard Turner signature, it also carries the signature of the artist “Seay”. I have since learned that Bill Seay was born in 1922 and was originally a Hollywood actor as a child. He died in 2012. He shared a studio with Sascha Brastoff. I have never seen another “panther” so I believe the dealers I bought it from were accurate. I’ve never even seen a picture of one on the internet. Also of interest…I have a 1947 J.C. Penney catalog that featured the Turner Cockatoos in the home decorating section. Somewhere recently I read that a collector had a Turner featuring Bluebirds. I have never seen this print and would love to hear from another collector who has seen this print. Thanks much. Love your website. Len.

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    • Thanks for the additional info, Len! It’s so great when readers reach out to provide additional info about the subject matter we write about.

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    • Hello Len, I just so happened to be on this site researching Turner prints. I had hoped to get some idea of pricing for my pair of Turner prints, they are bluebirds. I have a booth in an antique shop in Virginia. If you are interested in seeing a picture of these prints I can email it to you. Kim

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      • Hi Kim: What are the dimensions? I have one bluebird (didn’t know there was a pair). I’m in my office and the print is at home so I’ll guess that it is about 10 X 14. I think I paid $40 for it recently at an antique store in Willoughby, OH. I believe there is also a large bluebird (approx. 26 X 32) but I have never seen it. They are really hard to put a price on because as beautiful as Turners are, they still haven’t realized their monetary potential because many collectors are still not aware of them. I believe that once someone writes a book about them is when they will appreciate rapidly. (The same thing happened with Currier & Ives, and Wallace Nutting’s.) Even the large flamingoes, egrets, etc. are all across the board when it comes to pricing as you will notice when you look on ebay. I’d probably price your pair right around $100 or $120. If they are in mirrored frames, I’d probably make price them about 50% higher. Hope that helps, Len.

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      • Thanks for responding Len. My prints are in wooden frames and measure around 13.5 x 15.5. The birds are blue and white. I don’t see any option on this blog to add a picture. Thanks for giving me an idea what they are worth. I’m fairly new to this and can use all the help I can get. Thanks again, Kim

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  23. We have three turners but they have waterstains. Interested? Also how would you suggest we repair these stains?

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  24. Hello, I have what I believe to be is a Turner however the image is a bit unusual..a zebra surrounded by palm trees. There is a signature which appears to be AW. Any information would be helpful because I’m on the fence about restoring the mirrors properly that had once surrounded the frame. This piece hung in entrance of my parents home as far back as I can remember and it always brought a smile to my face. Thank you.

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    • I don’t think this is a Turner especially because of the AW signature. Also, never saw a Turner zebra. Regardless, I would surely restore the mirrored frame as it sounds like a wonderful print.

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    • We have a piece that looks a lot like the Turner’s pictured here number two and four, but with no people. It has a white sailboat in a bay with clouds and a cottage with trees in the foreground, it has an original rounded rectangular wood frame reminiscent of the Hollywood Regency era and it is signed AW. There is no copyright, and I can’t take the frame apart right now, but if any one wants to see a photo of it reply here with your address. It seems to be older than the images shown here so maybe it is an earlier Turner artist or different manufacturer of the same type of art? We’re there any? Love for someone else to weigh in on this one here as this seems to be the best place to get info on this cool vintage airbrush artwork. Thanks for the original post, @hepcatrestorations !

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  25. Charis Boissevain

    Thank you so much for sharing all you know about Turner. Fascinating to now know more about the history of the Turner company. I have a few pieces and just love them.

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  26. I have two Turners aqua and grey they have been in the closet for some years, I thought I would reuse the frames at some point they too are numbered on the back I assume that is a catolog number for purchase purposes years ago. They are both 12 X 14 oval if anyone is interested let me know LSCenjoy@cox.net no damage to frames or pictures and the brown craft paper on the back is intact also. Pictures provided upon request.

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  27. I bought a Turner wall accessory today for the beautiful frame! It is numbered and called carnation.

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  28. You show one that says “Similar to the flamingos. This would look great in a Tiki room”. Can you tell me what kind of birds these are, and if you are selling this and how much it would cost? Thank you.

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  29. I found an unframed rolled up paiñting in my storage area. The name of it is ” THE CHINESE VASE” and it says it was manufactured at Turner Mfg Co. of Chicago .The picture is of a big blue and white vase with a big beautiful flower arrangement in it. The colors in the painting are very bright and vivid. The decor I collect for my living room are blue and white pieces of pottery etc. I have some very unique pieces. I have been trying to figure out the name of
    fhe artist but I can’t make it out clearly.The first name is either KELLY ,NELLY, or possibly KATHY. The middle name looks like LITTLEHOLE or possibly LITTLEHALE, and the last name starts with the following, NI,or NE, or NUIEGHT. My intention is to frame it but it is nice to know something about it or the artist.

    If any of you know anything regarding the information I’ve listed in this e-mail I would really appreciate it. Have a great day!!

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  30. We have a Turner piece it’s a male and female in a oval frame. Don’t think it’s an original but looks old has Turner signature on it with the c circled after it. How do I find out what it’s worth.

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  31. Jacqueline Fuller

    I have a vintage airbrushed painting signed “Sue.” Do you know anything about that painter? Any more name than that? Many thanks.

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  32. Jacqueline Fuller

    Not sure if my last comment went through? Anyway, I found a reference to a Susan Harris as an airbrush painter for Newman Decor in a 1947 copyright directory. I’m wondering if she may have been the wife of Benjamin Harris. Here is the link: https://books.google.com/books?id=50whAQAAIAAJ&pg=RA1-PA95&lpg=RA1-PA95&dq=susan+harris+newman+decor+copyright&source=bl&ots=mWxnyDErFH&sig=paFhqf5F7ELZRBqL6R5M_U31wmY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjxtN_NtvfMAhWLdD4KHQ17BgkQ6AEITjAH#v=onepage&q=susan%20harris%20newman%20decor%20copyright&f=false

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  33. I have the set of wood framed pictures shown last on your list. The lady and gentleman with top hat. Hoping to find more info on them.

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  34. Hepcat folks: I have also been researching mid-century artists, and I wanted to tell you that Seay Turner was a real person who produced great, iconic images. I know because I have an original painting by him (her?). Maybe the Turner Art company was something that grew out of his efforts to promote his art works. Anyway, I can send you a photo of my painting, which he signed simply “Seay” in block letters.

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    • Tony: Please see my post to Hepcat from 8/31/15. William “Billy” Seay was born in Chicago in 1922. He was a child actor who later became a noted artist and illustrator. He can be researched thru Google. He joined designer Satcha Brastoff in his studio from 1952 to 1959 and then struck out on his own as a portrait painter. Thru is Hollywood contacts, this clients included Judy Garland, Joan Crawford, George Reeves. Prior to joining Brastoff he apparently sold some of his airbrush paintings to Turner Manufacturing Co., Chicago. Those prints are rarer than the typical Turner prints that are very plentiful. The Seay prints are signed by both. They carry the “SEAY” signature along with the standard “Turner” signature. A pair of 1940’s SEAY airbrush Cockatiels were recently offered on eBay. The rarest Turner print is the SEAY black panther that carries both signatures. Only a few are known. I purchased mine years ago from an Art Deco dealer and have never seen another. I’m curious…what is the subject matter of your SEAY painting? Len.

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    • Tony…Please refer to the comments I posted 8/31/15. “Seay” was William “Billy” Seay who was a child actor who later became an artist and illustrator. He sold some of his airbrush paintings to Turner Manufacturing Co., Chicago. Those prints are marked with both the Seay and the Turner signatures. I am curious as to the subject matter of your painting. Thanks.

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  35. Has anyone ever heard of the artist Ann Norris? I just purchased a set of two large painted wood panels. Her name is signed on the bottom of each piece. The Turner tags are on the back but there is no number to identify.

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