The Discovery of Paris
20 June – 15 September 2013
Free to all
An exhibition celebrating the irresistible lure of Paris for British painters. Featuring the watercolours of JMW Turner, Thomas Girtin and Richard Parkes Bonington, the show reveals how potent a subject the city was to the artists of the nineteenth-century.
With the Peace of Amiens of 1802-3 and the subsequent defeat of Napoleon, Paris again became an important destination for British painters on their grand tours. Artists such as Turner, Girtin and Bonington together with lesser-known painters such as Robert Batty and John Gendall, travelled to the city to paint pictures on the banks of the Seine for an increasingly fascinated British tourist industry.
This exhibition features sixty watercolours depicting well-known scenes of the city, from Notre Dame to the Pont Neuf, and reveals a generation of British artists who brought Paris alive in paint after many years of turbulence and war.
Although the Wallace Collection has an extensive group of early nineteenth-century British and French watercolours, it does not own any scenes of Paris. This exhibition will bring together many works on paper by Britain’s leading painters of the day to compliment the Museum’s collection of works by such French artists as Delacroix, Lawrence and Delaroche.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the exhibition is the re-discovery of Thomas Shotter Boys, whose exquisite depictions of The Tuileries and Notre Dame are not to be missed.