Turner paintings not seen in UK for 100 years to go on show at National Gallery

Two artworks of waterside scenes in Europe being lent by Frick Collection in New York for Turner on Tour exhibition

Two oil paintings by one of Britain’s greatest artists that have not been seen in the UK for more than 100 years will go on display at the National Gallery later this year.

The paintings by JMW Turner are of European scenes that feature the artist’s trademark expanses of water and sky.

Harbour of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile and Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening were acquired by the American industrialist Henry Clay Frick in 1914 and have remained in the US ever since.

The paintings are being loaned for the first time by the Frick Collection in New York and will be on display as part of the National Gallery’s Turner on Tour exhibition this winter.

Painted in the mid-1820s, the works reflect Turner’s lifelong fascination with ports and harbours as dynamic, transitional places, depicted in both oil and watercolours throughout his career. He travelled extensively around Europe, drawing in sketchbooks and producing paintings from them back in his studio in England.

Harbour of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile
Detail from Harbour of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile. Photograph: Michael Bodycomb/The Frick Collection, New York

Turner visited the French fishing port of Dieppe, in Normandy, twice in the early 1820s before painting Harbour of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile in his London studio. Both paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy in the 1820s. Almost a century later, they were displayed at the Knoedler Gallery in New York, after which they were bought by Frick.

Gabriele Finaldi, the director of the National Gallery, said: “Turner’s glorious river and harbour scenes from the Frick Collection are, through a special set of circumstances, coming to London for an unprecedented showing at the National Gallery. I am enormously grateful to our friends at the Frick for sharing their masterpieces with us.”

Turner was elected an associate member of the Royal Academy at age 24. He was acclaimed by his contemporaries and attacked by critics, especially for his late, more abstract and experimental works. By the time he died of cholera at the age of 76, he was a wealthy man. He bequeathed much of his work to the nation, and the majority of the paintings are now at Tate Britain.

Turner on Tour is one of three free exhibitions at the National Gallery that feature rarely loaned paintings from American institutions. Gainsborough’s Blue Boy ends mid-May; Picasso Ingres: Face to Face runs from June to October; and Turner on Tour runs from November to February 2023.


Harriet Sherwood Arts and culture correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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