Turner's View Of Wordsworth Country Goes Home To Lake District

By David Prudames | 08 December 2005
Shows the watercolour painting Ullswater, Cumberland by JMW Turner a peaceful scene in which two boats and a herd of cows are in the water, while two people are sitting amongst rocks on the shore.

Ullswater, Cumberland by JMW Turner. Courtesy Wordsworth Trust.

A watercolour by JMW Turner is on display in the region that inspired it, having been acquired by the Lake District-based Wordsworth Trust.

Ullswater, Cumberland has been bought for £300,000 with help from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, National Art Collections Fund, the V&A/MLA Purchase Grant Scheme, the Golden Trust and an anonymous donor.

According to staff at the trust, the purchase of a Turner view of the Lake District was an ambition of their late Director, Robert Woof. Shortly before he died in November, Dr Woof is said to have taken great delight in its arrival and in arranging its display.

"It has been our ambition for so long to have a Turner as the keystone to this collection; but our concern was how to raise so much money quickly - when we also knew this would be our very last chance to acquire a Turner of exhibition standard," explained Charles Waddington, acting director.

Shows a photograph of the new stone-built Jerwood Centre in Grasmere, Cumbria.

The Wordsworth Trust has recently opened the £3.15 million Jerwood Centre research facility. Photo Charlotte Wood.

He added: "We are very fortunate indeed in this country to have organisations who were so quick to rally round to ensure that this very fine drawing was able to come to Cumbria."

The painting is now on show in the Wordsworth Museum at Grasmere and is among the highlights of the Treasures of the Wordsworth Trust exhibition, which is on until January 8 2006.

Showing off the trust's collection of books, manuscripts and artwork, it includes portraits of the Romantic poets - Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Southey and Coleridge – and another Lake District view by Edward Lear.

As the exhibition shows, the trust already has an extensive collection of fine art from the romantic period by nearly all the major artists who visited the Lakes, apart from, until now, JMW Turner.

Shows a sketch of the poet's head and shoulders, he is wearing a high necked shirt and dark jacket.

Another recent purchase by the Wordsworth Trust, a portrait of Samuel Taylor Coleridge by Charles Robert Leslie (1794-1859). Courtesy Wordsworth Trust.

Completed in 1835, the new acquisition was regarded as the last great watercolour of the Lake District by Turner still in private hands.

It’s one of a set commissioned by Charles Heath for a series entitled Picturesque Views of England and Wales, of which 96 plates were published between 1827 and 1838.

John Ruskin, who lived at Coniston, described the series as “the great central work of Turner's life”, singling Ullswater out as capturing “the most perfect peace”.

Stephen Hebron, Wordsworth Trust head of exhibitions, added: “Turner based this wonderful view on sketches he made on his first tour of the north of England in 1797, but he also drew upon more recent memories of the Swiss Alps, and marvellously conveys the mood of an alpine lake."

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