Turner in Surrey

The Lightbox

18 November 2017 – 4 March 2018

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See Surrey through the eyes of one of the greatest English landscape painters in a unique exhibition focusing on his lifelong love affair with the county.

JMW Turner, Thomson's Aeolian Harp, 1809

JMW Turner is credited with revolutionising the art of landscape painting. Well-travelled, controversial and highly successful in his own lifetime, he had the means to practise his unique style wherever he wished. Quite often, that was Surrey.

Based in London for most of his life, the ‘painter of light’ made countless trips into the county along the Thames and Wey Navigation (before the county of London came into being in 1889), looking for the views and quality of light that so inspired him. There he employed his technique of making quick sketches in pencil or colour to fix an effect in his memory, later using them to create works of art that would immortalise the area. 

Turner in Surrey brings together many of these oil paintings, watercolours, drawings and prints for the first time ever. Drawing from the collections at Tate, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Walker Art Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery, over 50 exhibits are on show. Highlights include View of Richmond Hill and Bridge (1808), Thomson's Aeolian Harp (1809) and an oil sketch on mahogany entitled Newark Abbey on the Wey (1807). Also on display are Turner’s own travelling watercolour box and palette and his fishing rod, loaned by the Royal Academy.

As well as taking in the beauty of places as Turner saw them, visitors are able to compare scenes such as Kingston, Hampton Court, the Walton bridges, Guildford and St Catherine’s Hill with how they look today. Maps and photographs loaned by the Surrey History Society give fascinating insight into how the area has changed since Turner roamed the countryside with his sketchpad and palette over 200 years ago.

Venue information

Opening times

Tue – Sat, 10.30am – 5pm
Thurs - 10.30am - 9.30pm
Sun, 11am – 4pm

Closed Mon and Bank Holidays

"Art Fund" is the operating name of the National Art Collections Fund, a charity registered in England and Wales (209174) and Scotland (SC038331)