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Turner masterpiece comes to Colchester Castle

The painting will go on display in September 2020

Date issued: 4 November 2019

A landscape painting by one of Britain’s greatest painters, J M W Turner, will go on display at Colchester Castle in September 2020. The masterpiece, entitled Walton Bridges, was painted by Turner in 1806, close to his house on the River Thames.

The painting was in danger of leaving the country, following its sale to a foreign buyer, but a rescue bid involving Norfolk Museums Service and Colchester and Ipswich Museums has led to this nationally-important work being saved for the East of England.

The painting is currently on display in Norwich Castle Museum but will move onto Colchester next September. Curators and designers at Colchester and Ipswich Museums are currently working on its display in Colchester.

Councillor Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Culture and Performance and Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “This is a beautiful landscape painting by one of this country’s favourite painters and I am delighted it will be on show at Colchester Castle next year. This is the first time that a major painting by Turner has gone on display in Colchester and it is wonderful news for the local community.”

Philip Wise, Heritage Manager for Colchester Museums and who is leading on bringing the Turner to Colchester, added: “Turner, like his contemporary John Constable, preferred to work outside rather than in a studio. In the case of ‘Walton Bridges’ we have to imagine Turner in a small boat sketching the river scene in front of him. It’s a truly remarkable piece of work and I’m thrilled to be involved in bringing it to Colchester.”

The painting was saved thanks to successful applications to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the Art Fund and a private donor following its sale at Sotheby’s for £3.37m in 2018. As the painting was at risk of leaving the country, the Government placed an export bar allowing time for a UK museum to raise the necessary funds.

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