Having completed a tour of North America, the Late Turner: Painting Set Free exhibition has returned to its home at Tate Britain. The collection has toured over 12,000 miles on its international trip, stopping at galleries across America and Canada.
The exhibition features over 100 works by the painter including his celebrated Norham Castle, Sunrise and The Dogano, San Giorgio. Also included is Turner’s famed self-portrait, painted in 1799. The portrait is to be featured on the Bank of England’s new £20 note.
JMW Turner is widely regarded as one of the most celebrated artists of the early 19th century, so it’s hardly surprising that the exhibition has been the most popular solo show ever held at Tate Britain. Over 267,000 people visited the collection between September 2014 and January 2015.
Tate curator of British art from 1790-1850, David Blayney Brown is relieved to have the works returned to the gallery. ‘We were slightly bereft,’ he admitted, ‘although it is always wonderful to see things in a different gallery because they come to life in such different ways’.
The galleries have been redesigned to welcome the paintings home, including painting the walls the same shade of ‘India red’ Turner used in his own gallery. Blayney Brown said the redesign was simple but striking. ‘Mainly we just wanted to make the pictures look beautiful and not perhaps labour too many points…just let them speak visually’.
One room focussed on Turner’s travels across Britain and features paintings depicting Devon, Lake District and Edinburgh. Another features Turner’s European tours of Germany, France and Italy.
The exhibition aims to explore the mysteries, suppositions and interpretations surrounding Turner’s works, as well as showcasing his unique and inspiring style. The 100 works on display at the gallery are just a small selection of the 300 oil paintings and 36,000 drawings and watercolours that make up the Turner Bequest.