A Lifelong Passion - Turner and the Sea

Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘Storm at the Mouth of the Grand Canal, Venice', c.1840.

A Lifelong Passion – Turner and the Sea.
1st – 31st January 2005

Print Gallery

Supported by Bank of Ireland

In 1900 Henry Vaughan, a wealthy English art collector, bequeathed to the Gallery 31 watercolours and drawings by the great English painter Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851). This representative collection includes a number of excellent early works, some highly finished pieces later engraved for his series, 'Picturesque Views of the Southern Coast of England' and evocative sketches from his later tours in Switzerland and Italy.

The collection gives a real sense of Turner's development as an artist, his enthusiasm for landscape and his experimentation with the watercolour medium. Storm at the mouth of the Grand Canal Venice, c.1840, shows his skill at evoking the changing effects of the weather. This sketch is notable for its impressionistic simplicity - the canal side buildings are rendered using just a few red lines while an ominous rain-cloud, just a washy blue mass, dominates the scene.

To this day the Gallery fulfils the conditions of the Vaughan Bequest of Turner watercolours - that they be shown only during the month of January with free public admission. In 2005 the exhibition focused on Turner's life-long passion for the sea. From his early views of Dover to his frequent trips as a mature artist to Venice, Turner constantly returned to the theme of the sea. In addition to the Vaughan Bequest, there were 6 works on loan from Tate Britain and 8 dramatic mezzotint engravings from his famous Liber Studiorum series.

Exhibition Brochure:
Turner and the Sea
© 2005 National Gallery of Ireland
Editor Anne Hodge