1775 – 1851
The Turner Society
The Turner Society was founded in 1975 and has members worldwide. It is devoted to furthering the appreciation and understanding of the art of Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851), who was not only Britain’s greatest painter but arguably the finest landscape and marine painter ever. Turner was enormously prolific, producing some 550 oil paintings, over 2,000 highly detailed and finely finished watercolours, and some 30,000 works on paper. His bequest to the nation is without doubt the greatest artistic legacy ever bestowed upon the United Kingdom (it is housed in Tate Britain, London, except for a few key works kept at the National Gallery).
The Society regularly mounts lectures and informal talks given by the world’s leading experts on the painter; it organises out-of-hours viewings of important public exhibitions of his work, as well as visits to the Study Room at Tate Britain where the Turner Bequest works on paper are held; and it arranges trips to see private collections that include works by Turner. In addition, it publishes a fine magazine, Turner Society News, which goes to all members twice a year, and it works tirelessly to deepen awareness of the range and power of Turner’s astonishing genius.
We hope you will join us.
“If I could find anything
blacker than black I’d use it.”
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
The Turner Society offers a full programme of events. These include lectures by leading experts on the artist; visits to the Clore Gallery for the Turner Collection in London; and trips to important private collections not generally open to the public.
Please note these events are only open to members of the Turner Society and their guests. If you wish to become a member click here.
‘Beyond the Physical: Time in Turner’s Art’
Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, 16 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JA
The 39th Kurt Pantzer Memorial Lecture by Sam Smiles. Sam Smiles writes: ‘Turner is habitually understood as an artist who developed highly sophisticated images of places and their visual apprehension. A great deal of research has concentrated on the physical environments he depicted, real and imaginary, and their realisation in pictorial terms. While Turner’s representation of space has, therefore, become a key concern, his approach to time has received rather less attention. It is, however, something that he engaged with throughout his career on a number of different levels.’
Raveningham Hall, Norfolk
Raveningham Hall, Raveningham, Norwich NR14 6NS
The Hickman Bacon Collection – some 400 works in total, in superb condition – is probably the most important collection of English watercolours in private hands. It reflects the personal taste of Sir Hickman Bacon, Bt, who put it together in a period of only about 20 years from 1895. As Eric Shanes wrote, ‘his taste was mainly for evanescent and impressionistic effects’ and thus ‘the collection is especially strong in the type of late, ethereal Turner watercolour that became widely popular only with the advent of abstract painting in the 1940s and 1950s.’ The Society is privileged to have been invited to a private viewing of a selection of gems from the collection.
‘Discovering Turner’s World View’
Conference Rooms, St James’s Church, Piccadilly, London SW1J 9LL (access via Church Place at the east end of the church)
Lecture by Franny Moyle. Franny Moyle writes: ‘Turner was born in London in 1775, a Georgian, and died in 1851, a Victorian. My book The Extraordinary Life and Momentous Times of J.M.W. Turner gave me one of the most compelling reasons to look again at Turner’s biography and to re-establish the achievements of the lesser recognised Georgian Turner alongside the more familiar and popular output of the Victorian man. As part of this I asked whether there was a consistent world view of Turner shared between these two versions. By the end of the research I felt sure there was.’