Tate Britain houses the world’s largest collection of J.M.W. Turner’s work. It is home to the Turner Bequest, comprising 300 oil paintings and many thousands of sketches and watercolours (including 300 sketchbooks). The Bequest, including all works left behind in Turner’s studio at his death in 1851, forms the vast majority of the Turner collection at Tate.
The paintings showcase the breadth of Turner’s output in oils and contain many celebrated works. They range from his early experiments in the medium such as Moonlight, a study at Millbank exhibited 1797, through to large-scale exhibition pieces including Rome, from the Vatican exhibited 1820, and later, more impressionistic works such as Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth exhibited 1842.
Providing an insight into Turner’s methods, the drawings, watercolours and sketchbooks allow us to track the development of Turner’s ideas and to document his travels around the UK and Europe. In the watercolours we see Turner evolve from boyhood (Folly Bridge from Bacon’s Tower 1787 for example) to mature master and one of the greatest artists Britain has ever known, in works such as The Blue Rigi, Sunrise 1842.
Please note: Parts of The Turner Collection will be rehung for 3 August. Until then large parts of the wing will be closed.