Dawson Turner(18 October 1775 – 21 June 1858) was an English banker, botanist and antiquary. He specialized in the botany of cryptogams and was the father-in-law of the botanist William Jackson Hooker.
Turner was the son of James Turner, head of the Gurney and Turner's Yarmouth Bank and Elizabeth Cotman, the only daughter of the mayor of Yarmouth, John Cotman. He was educated at North Walsham Grammar School (now Paston College), Norfolk and at Barton Bendish as a pupil of the botanist Robert Forby. He then went to Pembroke College, Cambridge, where the Master was his uncle Rev. Joseph Turner. He however left without a degree due to his father's terminal illness. In 1796, he joined his father's bank.
After becoming a banker, he took a more intensive interest in botany in leisure time, collecting specimens in the field. In 1794, Turner offered to help James Sowerby with specimens. Turner published a number of books and collaborated with other botanists. In December 1802, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1816, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Through his first wife Mary, he met Captain George Manby, amateur artist, inventor and barrack-master of Yarmouth. They corresponded frequently over the next 50 years.
By 1820, his interest in botany had been replaced by an interest in antiquities. He and his children were taught drawing by renowned Norfolk artist John Sell Cotman who became a good friend. They travelled to Normandy together and collaborated on a book, Architectural Antiquities of Normandy, published in 1822, with Cotman providing the etchings.
Turner died in 1858 and is buried in Brompton Cemetery, London.
In 1796, the year he joined his father's bank, Turner married Mary (1774–17 March 1850), the daughter of William Palgrave of Norfolk. She became a notable portrait artist under her married name Mary Dawson Turner and 78 of her drawings (as etchings) are in the possession of the National Portrait Gallery in London. The couple had 11 children:
By his first wife, Turner was father-in-law of Sir William Jackson Hooker, FRS and of Sir Francis Palgrave, FRS and the grandfather of Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, FRS and Sir Robert Harry Inglis Palgrave, FRS.
After his first wife's death in 1850, he married Rosamund Matilda Duff (d. 1863) at Gretna Green, the marriage being disapproved of by his family and banking partners he left Yarmouth and moved to Barnes, and in 1853 retired to Lee Cottage, Old Brompton where he lived until his death. Turner's collections were sold off in auction by Sotheby in 1853 earning £4563 15s and another part in 1859 for £6558 9s.