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Turner’s Wessex: Architecture and Ambition MAY 2015

Scala has published the catalogue to accompany the exhibition at The Salisbury Museum

An exhibition bringing together Turner’s work from the Salisbury region opened last week at The Salisbury Museum and Scala has published the accompanying catalogue, written by Turner scholar Ian Warrell. 

Turner’s Wessex: Architecture and Ambition offers a new perspective on this hugely celebrated artist. Rather than the pervasive image of Turner in later life as “a short, stocky man in a top hat; his clothes slightly shabby; his speech taciturn”, this show depicts Turner as a young man driven by ambition, and highlights the influence of patrons Sir Richard Colt Hoare and William Beckford on shaping his career. 

Turner’s early works featured in the exhibition demonstrate his excellent architectural draughtsmanship, his mastery of perspective and - perhaps most significantly - light. To quote an early review of the exhibition in The Times, it “shows the speed of the precocious young Turner’s development”. Turner was to go on to develop a style of painting that was yet more ambitious and novel and far removed from the precise rendering of architectural detail of these early works. Yet they show the beginnings of Turner’s matchless ability to capture light and atmosphere and his soaring ambition. 

The catalogue is available now and the exhibition is open until 27 September. 

Image credits (from top):

The Choir of Salisbury Cathedral, exhibited RA 1797
Watercolour, 64.8 x 50.8 cm
The Salisbury Museum 

Stonehenge, Wiltshire, c. 1827-8
Watercolour, 27.9 x 40.4 cm
The Salisbury Museum 

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