A trip to the Coast from Twickenham

From ‘Ports of England’ Watercolours, Ramsgate c.1824 Joseph Mallord William Turner  Photo ©Tate

Turner’s House in Twickenham transports visitors to the English seaside this month with its latest exhibition, Turner’s English Coasts. Lucinda MacPherson tells us more:

Eleven rarely seen maritime works have been chosen by guest curator, Christine Riding, The Head of the Curatorial Department at The National Gallery. These paintings and prints were all created at the time J.M.W. Turner owned Sandycombe Lodge, and it is striking how experimental some of his depictions of the sea were. A master of tonal washes, Turner invested watercolours with the same powers of expression that were usually found only in oils.

He responded to the contemporary interest in marine paintings with his epic A Shipwreck (1805) being the first of his paintings to be engraved and published in 1807, the same year he acquired the land for Sandycombe Lodge. Encouraged by the success of this venture, Turner embarked on Ports of England, of which there are four examples in the exhibition, including this one of Ramsgate.

Expressive studies of wave formation reflect the underlying motion of the sea and the low viewpoint between the ship in the foreground and the viewer draws them into the drama, pitching and rolling with the brig. 

Last year was a rough ride for many museums and a rollercoaster for Turner’s House, as House Director and Twickenham resident, Ricky Pound explains, “2020 started brilliantly with our first ever exhibition of original Turner paintings, opened by the inspirational Sir David Attenborough. We then hosted The Bank of England around the launch of the new £20 note featuring Turner. Then the pandemic brought everything to a holt- tickets cancelled and doors closed. We reopened then closed at the end of October.  Now we look forward to opening our doors once again with our exhibition which features some of Turner’s finest and most atmospheric watercolours.”

Turner’s English Coasts runs from Saturday 22nd May to Sunday 5th September. Prebooking essential turnershouse.org. Turner’s House, Sandycombe Lodge, 40 Sandycoombe Road, St Margarets, TW1 2LR.

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