The Trustees of the Tate Gallery are deeply indebted to Lord Leconfield for so generously according them the privilege of showing his unique collection of paintings by Turner. This is the first occasion when it has been shown away from Petworth.
As Turner's originality revealed itself it alienated the aristocratic men of taste, and it was, in consequence, difficult for him to sell his pictures into the principal collections. There was, however, one among the great amateurs of the art world who extended to Turner first his patronage and later his friendship. This was George Wyndham, third Earl of Egremont. As early as 1802 he bought Ships bearing up for Anchorage, and other works year by year.
We do not know when Turner first visited Petworth, Lord Egremont's house in Sussex. In 1809 he was commissioned to paint views of the house and park, but it was not until 20 years later that he was received as a member of the family and given his own painting room with a specially constructed window. The enchantment of the place and the genial exhilaration of Lord Egremont's friendship combined to give an almost miraculous quality to the many paintings and watercolours he made there.