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Isle of Wight

Turner Exhibition comes to Shanklin

Mon 16 September 2013

An exhibition is being held at the Heritage Centre of Shanklin Chine which recalls the late summer of 1795 when the 20-year-old Joseph Mallord William Turner toured the Isle of Wight making sketches. 

Fishermen at Sea (pictured below) is a night scene off The Needles rocks. It was his first oil painting that was accepted for exhibition at the Royal Academy. This painting is responsible for launching Turner's career as an indepenent artist. 

Turner Exhibition comes to Shanklin Chine, Isle of Wight

J.M.W. Turner was born in early 1775 in Covent Garden, by the time he was ten, his drawings were being exhibited in his father's shop window and sold for a few shillings. As a boy, Turner worked for several architects and learned the skills of draughtsmanship. He entered the Royal Academy of Art schools in 1789 when he was 14 years old and was accepted into the academy itself the following year.

Turner's first visited the Isle of Wight in 1791. Since 1770 there had been a steel-spring stagecoach service from the Fountain Inn in Cowes to the Sun Inn in Newport. Other than this, the only transporrt was on occassional traders' carts. In the 1790s, the Island became a favourite for British artists when the French Revolutionary Wars made travel to the continent more dangerous. 

Turner's most important visit to the Isle of Wight took place during August and September 1795. He carried with him an 8 x 10inch sketch book which can now been found in the Tate Britain gallery. Turner sketched pictures of Godshill, Colwell, Totland, Bembridge Harbour, Carisbrooke Castle, Chale Farm, Mottistone Mill, Steephill Cove, Newportr and Appuldurcombe. 

The exhibition is currently taking place at Shanklin Chine and shows copies of Turner's sketched of the Island alongside completed works of the same subject by other artists of the period. The Historic Jubilee Exhibition runs until 3rd November. A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue is available at the Chine.  

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