14 February – 1 June 2014
Open 10.00 – 17.00 daily
An extremely rare print and its copper etching plate feature in a stunning new exhibition on the work of British landscape artist, JMW Turner at the Lady Lever Art Gallery.
The print, The Felucca, is the first of only 30 ever made and is part of the Liber Studiorum series, Turner’s illustrative argument for the supremacy of landscape painting. Together with the copperplate original and the first five prints of the series, it forms a glimpse into Turner’s lifelong determination to raise the profile of landscape art.
Turner: Travels, Light and Landscape comprises some 30 watercolours, paintings and prints. The exhibition is drawn from National Museums Liverpool’s own Turner collection, one of the most outstanding in the country.
Themed chronologically the exhibition explores Turner’s endeavours to challenge the widely-held assumption that landscape was inferior to historical painting. It was in doing this that he produced some of the most thrilling, evocative paintings ever known.
His early career is represented with a series of prints and a selection of watercolours which reveal a topographical and measured approach, featuring stunning depictions of Linlithgow Palace, Wells Cathedral and Whalley Abbey. Covering a period between 1794-1819, Turner’s travel for much of this time was limited due the war with France but a small selection of European locations include a bustling print of Basle and a tranquil watercolour of Lake Nemi and the Town of Genzano.
The middle section of the exhibition, which spans the period 1816-1833, includes works which reflect Turner’s interest with the rapidly changing British landscape. In the watercolour Dudley (once owned by the writer John Ruskin), the dramatic intensity of a town in the throes of industrial change is set against the backdrop of a traditional landscape. Symbols of tradition and faith (the ruins of Dudley castle on the hillside and the church steeples to the left) are pictured alongside the furnaces, chimneys, boilers and canal boats of the modern age.
A radical move to a more abstract style also begins in this section. Exquisite studies of light and atmosphere demonstrate Turner’s incredible innovation and explain why he eventually became regarded as a precursor to the later Impressionist movement in Europe.
The final area explores the artist’s later works and his influence. This section includes Hackfall and The Fighting Temeraire, two works believed to be painted by others in the style of Turner.
Lady Lever Art Gallery Port Sunlight Village, Wirral L62 5EQ