Turner's Blue Rigi saved for the nation

  • 1 March 2007

Turner's The Blue Rigi has been saved for the nation, thanks to an overwhelming public response to the fundraising appeal launched by The Art Fund and Tate in January, and a major grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

There has been a phenomenal response from the general public to the appeal that The Art Fund and Tate launched on 22 January. Over 11,000 people have donated over £552,000 to save the watercolour for the nation, making it one of the most successful public appeals ever.

Members of the public have been pledging their support by ‘buying a brushstroke’ for £5 each from The Blue Rigi, by visiting a special website created by The Art Fund for online donations, as well as by telephone and post.

Donations have been received from all over the UK and there have also been contributions from as far away as Singapore, United States, Japan, Russia and Australia. People who wish to contribute to the campaign can still do so until 6pm on 5 March and all money received until then will go towards acquiring the work.

The Art Fund has awarded Tate £500,000 - one of the largest grants in its history - toward the purchase. This means that in total the public have contributed over £1 million to this appeal. In an unprecedented move by Tate, £2m of its own funds have been allocated.

Further details on the success of the fundraising appeal and the final amount needed from the NHMF will be announced once the appeal has closed in March and the many thousands of public and private donations have been fully counted.

As part of the fundraising campaign, Tate has united for the first time ever The Blue Rigi, The Dark Rigi and The Red Rigi in the exhibition JMW Turner: The Three Rigis at Tate Britain until 20 March 2007. These highly-prized finished watercolours are widely regarded as Turner’s finest works, as well as being arguably among the very finest watercolours ever painted.

Click here to find out more about The Art Fund’s Blue Rigi appeal

Click here to read press coverage of the campaign