Turner watercolour collection to return to National Galleries of Scotland

THE National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) should once again feature the 38 Turner watercolors from the Vaughan bequest.

Donated to NGS in 1900 by art collector Henry Vaughan, the works of Joseph Mallord William Turner range from early washes of the 1790s to colorful and atmospheric late works executed during visits to the Swiss Alps in the 1830s and 1840s.

The 38 works were handpicked by Vaughan from his extensive collection to provide an overview that sums up Turner’s career. Vaughan was known as a distinguished and astute art collector, especially 19th century British art. He had over 100 Turner watercolors in his collection.

Vaughan stipulated that the watercolors be exhibited annually, free of charge – but only for the month of January, when the light is weakest. Since 1901, NGS has maintained this tradition and only exhibited watercolors the first month of the year.

Legacy highlights include a series of views of Venice such as La Piazzetta, Venice and Venice from the Lagoon, which capture the drama and explosive sky of late summer Adriatic storms.

Christopher Baker, Director of European and Scottish Art and Portrait at the National Galleries of Scotland said: “The Vaughan Turners have a very special status. Wonderfully well preserved, they allow us to travel with the artist through Scotland and Europe, marveling at his technical palette and his virtuosity.

“From Skye to Venice via the crossing of the Alps, he sought out the most spectacular and lyrical subjects and brought them a deeply romantic sensibility.

Presented at the Scottish National Gallery, the exhibition will open on New Years Day and run throughout January. Admission is free but a reservation for the Scottish National Gallery must be made through nationalgalleries.org

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