Mystery oil painting left in storage at art gallery for years IS by British master Turner and is worth millions

The painting of a ship off Margate beach had been kept in storage at Manchester’s Whitworth Art Gallery amid doubts of its authenticity.

View of The Beach of Margate by Turner

The painting of a ship off Margate beach had been in storage as previous Turner experts had shed serious doubt over its authenticity.

But now art historian, Ian Warrell, who used to look after the huge Turner collection at Tate Britain in London, is convinced it is by the great man.

Mr Warrell said: “It had been hidden away at the Whitworth really because they were led to believe that it was not a Turner. But I’m convinced that it is.”

Called View of The Beach of Margate, it will be one of more than 100 works by the artist to be displayed at the JMW Turner Adventures in Colour at the Turner Contemporary galley in the resort nest weekend.

Mr Warrell says the painting dates from 1840 when Turner was in Margate lodging with a Mrs Booth.

The Whitworth gallery in Manchester
The Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester

First called The Phantom Ship, was a part of collection sold by Mrs Booth, – his landladly and mistress – and her son Daniel John, at Christie’s in 1865.

It was bought by the Manchester cotton manufacturer, Henry Tootal Broadhurst.

It was inherited by his son, Sir Edward Tootal Broadhurst, who became chairman of Tootal Broadhurst Lee, one of the largest cotton manufacturers in Manchester.

He was also the chairman of the Manchester and Liverpool District Bank and High Sheriff of Lancashire in 1906–7.

After his death it was bequeathed to the Whitworth, which has 18 Turner paintings.

But due to concerns about its authenticity the painting was put in storage after being on display for about a year.

'The Burning Of the House Of Lords' by Turner
‘The Burning Of the House Of Lords’ by Turner

However it has now been relabelled as a Turner by the Whitworth.

David Morris, head of collections at The Whitworth, said: “The painting was assessed by a Turner expert, Mr G Agnew, in 1924, and a note by him says he does not consider it to be a Turner.”

Agnew valued the painting at at £200 and said it was ‘doubtful whether it was genuine”.

Mr Morris added:“Then in the 1980s it was looked at by another Turner expert, Evelyn Joll, who was responsible for a catalogue raisonnee of all Turner’s works. He said it was not a Turner.

“So when you have that kind of opinion as a public gallery, you have to take it off show, you don’t want to be embarrassed.

Turner painting Fishing Boats in a Stiff Breeze
Turner painting Fishing Boats in a Stiff Breeze

“Ian Warrell was intrigued by it however. He is the current best expert on Turner in ther UK. I am opened minded about it. He considers it to be part of a group of paintings of Margate, three of which are held by the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff.

“It would be fascinating to bring them all together and to carry out a scientific examination, looking at things like the pigment of the paint, to establish definitively that it is a Turner.

“We did exhibit the painting again last year at our re-opening, and it is now labelled as a Turner.”

After the Margate show the work will return to storage at Whitworth as the gallery’s exhibits are planned years in advance.

by Neal Keeling

Source: Mirror


Punk with a paintbrush: how Turner sunk the Empire

Battle of Trafalgar by JMW Turner. Photograph: National Maritime Museum
Battle of Trafalgar by JMW Turner. Photograph: National Maritime Museum

The sea broils with war. Sails hover like veils above the dead and dying. Is this the Victory or defeat?

JMW Turner’s painting The Battle of Trafalgar 21 October 1805 is well worth looking at on Trafalgar Day, 210 years after Nelson’s stunning defeat of the French and Spanish fleets that changed the course of the Napoleonic wars and established a British naval supremacy that lasted into modern times.

This great battle painting, which rightly has a room to itself in the National Maritime Museum, has some strange things about it. The survivors of Trafalgar who saw it when it was completed in 1824 were not happy at all. Turner’s sublime array of interwoven French and British ships gathered round the shining wooden wall of HMS Victory did not look like their memories. But most troubling of all – and most striking today – is Turner’s portrayal of human suffering at the centre of his painting.

Men whose ships have sunk or who have been thrown overboard by cannon blasts (men on both sides) are clinging to boats and wreckage in the wild sea, with a huge union jack floating, like a shroud, over the grisly waters.

The human suffering at the centre of Battle of Trafalgar by JMW Turner. Photograph: National Maritime Museum
The human suffering at the centre of Battle of Trafalgar by JMW Turner. Photograph: National Maritime Museum

Turner is doing something even more daring here than first meets the eye. This focus on the dead, the dying and the wounded seems subversive in a picture of a great British victory. But it is all the darker when you recognise his pictorial source. In 1820, two years before Turner got commissioned by George IV to paint his Trafalgar epic, a shocking work of art was shown at the Egyptian Hall in London. It was The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault – a terrifying scene of starving, perhaps cannibal, victims of an ocean disaster struggling to survive on a raft on the open sea.

When you realise Turner must have seen The Raft of the Medusa in 1820 it is easy to see how he quotes it visually in his painting of Trafalgar. The swarm of men in the water resemble the poor people on Géricault’s bereft raft. A near-naked body slung over the side of a boat in the foreground of Turner’s picture, trailing in the water, closely replicates a very similar figure that is one of the most harrowing details in The Raft of the Medusa.

The Raft of the Medusa is a vision of utter despair. To quote it in a painting of a famous victory is spectacularly subversive. But Turner had unpatriotic form.

 The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault. Photograph: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images
The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault. Photograph: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

In a previous painting of Trafalgar, done just after the battle itself and today in Tate Britain, Turner imagines how the battle looked from the Mizen Starboard shrouds of the Victory. It looks like hell. A terrible smoky entanglement of masts and rigging looms over ships fighting at close quarters. Men lie dead and dying everywhere, hit by bullets as cannon blast into the invisible lower decks. Among the fallen is Nelson – but the heroic admiral who died at the moment of his greatest triumph is just one of the victims of a battle both fair and foul.

War is chaos, it is a nightmare. That is Turner’s take on military heroism. He shows another scene of devastation, where friend and enemy are equal in death, in his painting The Field of Waterloo.

We must remember battles. We must remember what they are really like. Great art helps us to see that, on Trafalgar Day and every day.

by Jonathan Jones

Source: The Guardian


JMW Turner’s Thames boat journey to be recreated to mark new exhibition

A boat journey taken by renowned romantic artist JMW Turner along the River Thames is to be recreated to launch a new exhibition of his work.

The Thames boat journey will be recreated to mark the launch of a new exhibition at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, Kent
The Thames boat journey will be recreated to mark the launch of a new exhibition at the Turner Contemporary gallery in Margate, Kent

The Waverley will voyage from London along the coast of Kent to Margate, home of the Turner Contemporary, next year to celebrate the gallery’s fifth anniversary.

The boat, with up to 90 people on board, will follow the route first taken by the artist as a boy, at the start of the Turner and Colour exhibition in October.

A gallery spokeswoman said: “Turner first came to Margate aged 11, having been sent by his parents to school in Love Lane in Margate Old Town. He returned to sketch there aged 21 and from the 1820s onwards became a regular visitor.

“His connection with the seaside town was the founding inspiration for Turner Contemporary. The artist loved Margate for the sea, the skies, and his landlady Mrs Booth.”

Turner and the widowed Mrs Booth began a love affair in Margate where she is now immortalised in his bronze shell lady sculpture, which resides at the end of the Harbour Arm.

The gallery said Turner and Colour will be the largest exhibition of the artist’s work in the UK, featuring more than 70 paintings, including the fullest collection of the artist’s watercolours of Margate.

The 2016 programme will also include works by Barbara Hepworth, Anish Kapoor and Ben Richardson amongst others.

Source: The Independent

The art of watercolour brought home to Bedford with J.M.W Turner exhibition at The Higgins


THIS autumn, for the first time, all nine of Bedford’s watercolours by J.M.W Turner will be displayed together in the Higgins, Bedford.

The exhibition running from Saturday October 10 to Saturday April 10 spans Turner’s career, showing the development of his unique, unparalleled work, from Cote House near Bristol, painted when Turner was aged just 16 and already a skilled draughtsman and watercolourist, to The Town and Lake of Thun, painted during the final phase of his career, when he produced some of his most innovative works.

A tenth Turner is a view of Bedford, looking west along the river towards the Swan Hotel, Town Bridge and St. Paul’s Church.

The work is an engraving taken from a watercolour that Turner made as part of a project Picturesque Views in England and Wales, a series described by John Ruskin as ‘the great central work of Turner’s life’. Although the project was not a financial success, the watercolours and engravings that resulted were ‘unsurpassed in their range and power’.

A First Rate Taking in Stores is one of Turner’s most famous watercolours, in part because there is a rare first-hand account of its creation.

Turner allowed the son of his friend and patron Walter Fawkes to watch him paint. Fawkes described the process: ‘…he tore, he scratched, he scrabbled at it in a kind of frenzy and the whole thing was chaos – but gradually and as if by magic the lovely ship, with all its exquisite minutia[sic] came into being.

One of the highlights of Bedford’s Turner collection is The Great Falls of the Reichenbach, painted in 1804. At over a metre tall it is a spectacular exhibition watercolour and a technical tour de force; Turner had by this point in his career broken free of traditional methods. Working on a large scale allowed him to depict the soaring perspectives he had witnessed on his tour of Switzerland in 1802.

Alongside the works by J.M.W Turner there will be an exhibition drawn from the internationally renowned watercolour collection, including some of the great names from this enduring medium.

It includes works by Edward Dayes, Thomas Hearne and John Robert Cozens, who enhanced the young Turner’s vision, to his contemporaries Thomas Girtin and John Sell Cotman. Also featured will be works by some of the artists who followed in his footsteps, through the 19th century and up to 20th century watercolourists such as Paul Nash & David Jones.
Source: Bredfordshire On Sunday

There’s that light…

Do you know what the last sentence of Joseph Mallord William Turner – incontrovertibly the greatest British painter of all time – was? “The sun is God.” The last words of a real genius! They sum up not only his beliefs, but also his notion of art. People call him the “painter of light”. They could just as well call him the “painter of the sea”. Perhaps they should go for “the painter of the sea AND WHOA DO YOU SEE THAT LIGHT?!”

J.M.W. Turner

From February 24 to May 24, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is hosting one of the biggest Turner exhibitions that has ever been, focusing on his late years when he paved the way for modernity: J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free. You’ll see paintings full of explosions, fires, storms and shipwrecks where Turner overcame the mere imitation of nature, getting more abstract than anyone before him. He spit on the canvas, he smeared over it. Queen Victoria was not amused. But he created what you could call the first impressionist paintings ever. The J. Paul Getty Museum now brings them all together for the first time on the West Coast of the US!

Smearing and spit comes at an extra cost in our books, but hey, at least you can take them with you! There’s the little brother: William Turner, Collection Art Gallery, 4.1 x 5.5 in., 144 pages, c. 100 illustrations, Flexi Cover. The pocket version. And then there’s the big fella: The Life and Master Works of J.M.W. Turner, Temporis collection, 10.4 x 12.5 in., 256 pages, c. 150 illustrations, hardcover with dust jacket. Maybe that fits in yo mama’s pockets… Anyway, you’ll get the most important paintings and loads of information on Turner. Plus, in a way, it’s the fulfillment of Turner’s last will. He wanted all his paintings to be shown together. Always at your service, Mr. Turner!

Turner, Temporis. Parkstone International
“Turner”, Temporis.
10.4 x 12.5 in.
256 pages, about 150 illustrations.
Hardcover with dust jacket.
Art Gallery, Turner. Parkstone International
Art Gallery, Turner.
4.1 x 5.5 in.
144 pages, about 100 illustrations.
Flexi cover.