J.M.W. Turner was arguably the greatest practitioner in watercolour the world has ever seen and his achievements still represent the benchmark for artists working today. Yet he left frustratingly few written records of his processes and was notoriously reticent about his methods. One brave soul apparently once asked him the key to being a successful artist and it is recorded that he rather grumpily replied ‘The only secret I have is damned hard work’! This lecture examines Turner’s watercolour practice in detail, unlocking the mysteries behind his exceptional effects. In addition to showcasing the diversity and richness of his achievements in the medium, we will look at his experimental approach to techniques and some of his tools and materials.
Nicola Moorby is an independent art historian specialising in British art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She studied at the University of York and Birkbeck College, London. Formerly a curator at Tate Britain she has curated a number of exhibitions and has published widely on J.M.W. Turner, including contributions to the forthcoming online catalogue of the Turner Bequest. She is also co-editor and author of How to Paint Like Turner (Tate Publishing, 2010). In addition, she has published on Walter Richard Sickert and is co-author of Tate’s catalogue of works by the Camden Town Group.
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