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Turner Collection

See the world’s largest collection of Turner’s work in changing displays in the Clore Gallery

Photo © Rikard Österlund

8 rooms in Turner Collection

Turner as a British Artist

Turner as a British Artist

See Turner respond to the varied scenery and subjects he recorded during his travels through Britain

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Ploughing Up Turnips, near Slough (‘Windsor’) exhibited 1809

Travelling Light

Travelling Light

Observe how Turner took advantage of the conveniences of modern travel to explore new climates and colours 

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Opening of the Wallhalla, 1842 exhibited 1843

Found in Turner’s Studio: Seascapes

Found in Turner’s Studio: Seascapes

Share Turner’s fascination with the sea in all its variety, a subject of which he never tired

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Shipping at the Mouth of the Thames c.1806–7

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Highlights in Turner Collection

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows

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John Constable
Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows
exhibited 1831

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, which Constable began painting in 1830, shows the cathedral from the north-west, looking across the River Nadder from a point near a footbridge known as the Long Bridge. A team of three horses pulls a cart across the river from the left; cattle graze in the meadows in the right distance; and the centre foreground is occupied by a black and white sheepdog whose intent gaze is turned inwards towards the cathedral as if to direct the viewer towards the building or the storm that sweeps over it. The spire pierces a sky full of billowing clouds; a dark rain cloud hangs directly above and a streak of lightning flashes over the roof; but a magnificent rainbow arches over all, promising that the storm will pass. While the tall trees in the middle distance on the left are shaken by a squally breeze, the river’s surface is already glassy and smooth, reflecting the varied sky. Fresh raindrops glint and sparkle on the brambles in the foreground. Throughout much of the canvas, the paint is handled with a febrile, sometimes even frenzied excitement, especially in the foreground undergrowth, the trembling trees and the Gothic architecture of the cathedral. Laid on with brush and palette knife, the paint ranges from thick and three-dimensional in the brambles, to thin and almost translucent in the rainbow. The picture was exhibited by Constable at the Royal Academy in 1831 but never found a buyer. The painting remained in the artist’s studio – where he continued to retouch it – until his death in 1837.

Norham Castle, Sunrise

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Norham Castle, Sunrise
c.1845

Turner first saw Norham, bordering Scotland on the river Tweed in Northumberland, in 1797. He was at the limits of his trip to northern England, when he also visited Buttermere, seen in the painting of nearly fifty years earlier shown nearby. After that first visit he made watercolours showing the ruin at sunrise, and visits in 1801 and 1831 resulted in further views. Here, finally, is one of a series of unfinished, unexhibited paintings reworking his monochrome Liber Studiorum landscape prints. Pure colours rather than contrasting tones express the blazing light as the historic building and landscape merge.

Gallery label, February 2010

Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps
exhibited 1812

Hannibal Barca was a Commander of the Carthaginian army in 200-100 BC. He was a celebrated military leader. Although he is referenced in the title of this work, Hannibal himself is not pictured. Rather than focus on an individual leader, this work expresses human’s vulnerability when faced with the power of nature. The attention is on the victims of the conflict, the soldiers struggling in the harsh conditions.

Gallery label, August 2019

The Shipwreck

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Shipwreck
exhibited 1805

Shipwrecks and other disasters at sea were a recurrent theme in Romantic painting. They demonstrated the primal force of the elements, a nightmare for all who travelled far from home. Turner retained a lifelong passion for the sea. We don’t know whether this painting was inspired by an actual shipwreck, or the reissue in 1804 of a famous poem on the theme by William Falconer. Turner defines the essence of such an experience through overwhelming impressions of realism and horror. The dark tonality, characteristic of Turner’s early paintings, provides a foil to the white crests and swirls of the waves.

Gallery label, March 2010

Highlights

Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows
John Constable Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows exhibited 1831
Norham Castle, Sunrise
Joseph Mallord William Turner Norham Castle, Sunrise c.1845
Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps
Joseph Mallord William Turner Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps exhibited 1812
The Shipwreck
Joseph Mallord William Turner The Shipwreck exhibited 1805

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