19th April 2019
Turner: Northern Exposure

Turner: Northern Exposure is an important new exhibition of thirteen stunning paintings and two sketchbooks by JMW Turner, one of the most renowned of English Romantic artists, opening first at The Granary Gallery in Berwick-upon-Tweed, before touring to Carlisle and Harrogate. Alongside the core thirteen works on loan from Tate, The Granary Gallery will share three additional works from the V&A and the Manchester Art Gallery: Holy Island, Northumberland (1829), Warkworth Castle, Northumberland (1799) and Dunstanborough Castle, Northumberland (c1829).

In 1797, aged twenty-two, Turner set off on his first tour of the north of England, spending three months sketching in Northumberland, the Lake District and Yorkshire. He set out an architectural draftsman, intent on visiting the abbeys, castles and cathedrals of the North. He returned as a poet of the landscape sublime, with sketchbooks full of subjects that he returned to again and again throughout his life.

This exhibition represents the highlights of Turner’s route of over a thousand miles and explores the effects of his exposure to the northern landscapes across his career. Turner himself credited this tour as the start of his success from which many commissions derived, and he is known to have stood up in his coach on a later tour in 1831 in order to execute a low bow to the Norham ruins as he travelled past. The collection of works that make up the exhibition offer insight into Turner’s remarkable memory and visual recollection, while the sketches, in particular, demonstrate his awareness of the weather and it’s changing impact on how he depicted each landscape. His works also explores human perseverance against the elements, and are notable for their energy and dynamism.

Image Credit: Norham Castle, on the River Tweed. c1822-3. Turner, Joseph Mallord William 1775-1851. Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856. (c) Tate, London 2019