Original Turner paintings on display at Hull Maritime Musuem

Published: Monday 9th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Turner & The Whale brings the incredible work of J.M.W. Turner to Hull Maritime Museum, providing a deeper insight into the city’s whaling industry.

Set against the backdrop of Hull’s impressive collection of maritime artefacts, the unique exhibition combines several outstanding paintings from Turner, as well as the work of local artists.

“The reason we have the exhibition here at the Hull Maritime Museum is that they fit incredibly well with our collection,” explains Malcolm Dunn, Audience Development Officer at Hull Culture & Leisure. “Three of the paintings document whaling scenes that date back to the era when Hull was the country’s largest whaling port.”

Born in Covent Garden in 1775, Joseph Mallord William Turner is now known across the globe for his stunning watercolours, imaginative landscapes and striking nautical scenes. Talented as a child, he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Arts when he was just 14 and had his first work displayed at the gallery at 21.

After his death in 1851, he left behind over 2,000 paintings and 19,000 sketches.

“The paintings are just breathtaking. I saw them for myself for the first time the other day and they are beautiful,” Malcolm enthuses.

On loan from the Tate Gallery, the works have previously been displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“The exhibit also includes pieces from our extensive collection of scrimshaw artwork. The Maritime Museum is famous for the largest collection of scrimshaw this side of the Atlantic,” Malcolm tells us.

“And of course, it’s a unique chance for local artists to have their work appear alongside the paintings of such a renowned icon,” he adds.

The exhibition also occurs at the same time as the Turner Prize is hosted across the street from Hull Maritime Museum, at the Ferens Art Gallery.

“The two events aren’t officially connected, but Turner & The Whale certainly underscores the prestige of the Turner Prize.”

The Prize dates back to 1984 and is awarded every year to a British visual artist. The first award went to Malcolm Morely, an English artist residing in the USA.

Although Turner is a household name nowadays, when he was active, he was considered to be controversial. He was an extremely private individual, who never married but fathered two children by his housekeeper.

After being born to a modest lower middle-class family, he continuously strove to avoid the effects of fame and success, frequently showing reluctancy when taking on commissions and always retaining his common Cockney accent. So it’s quite ironic that now he has a distinguished award named after him.

Turner & The Whale runs until Sunday 7 January 2018 at the Maritime Museum. Entry is free and it is open Monday-Wednesday 10am-5pm, Thursdays 10am-7.30pm, Friday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sundays 11am-4.30pm.

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Published: Monday 9th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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