Return to Chichester for JMW Turner’s Chichester Canal masterpiece


Joseph Mallord William Turner: Chichester Canal c1828, oil painting on canvas, Tate

Sussex Landscape: Chalk, Wood and Water is the first major exhibition to celebrate Sussex as a place of inspiration for artists. Featuring over 100 works including paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures by over 50 artists, the exhibition will explore the rich life and work of artists connected to the Sussex landscape.

Simon Martin, director of Pallant House Gallery, said: “With its iconic chalk cliff coastline and the rolling expanse of the South Downs, Sussex has a unique sense of place and English that has been explored by artists and writers throughout the centuries.

“The exhibition will trace how Sussex served as a site of creativity, exploration, retirement and alternative lifestyles. The exhibition will begin in the 19th century with some of Britain’s greatest artists: William Blake, John Constable and JMW Turner, whose 1828 painting of the Chichester Canal from Hunston Junction looking towards the cathedral returns for the first time.

“On loan from the Tate Gallery in London, Turner made the work during one of his regular visits to Petworth House, the home of Lord Egremont, his friend and patron, who had given Turner a room to use as a studio.

“Lord Egremont had invested heavily in the Chichester Canal, built as part of a scheme linking London and Portsmouth by water.

“What we know today as the Chichester Canal is part of the old Portsmouth and Arundel Canal which opened in 1822 and consisted of a 12-mile canal running from Ford over the River Arun at Portsmouth Harbour.The 20th century saw a new flourishing of the arts It became home to many prominent artists and writers, including Eric Ravilious, John Piper, William Nicholson, Bloomsbury Group artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, surrealists Edward Burra and Paul Nash and abstract artists whose work will all be on display.

“The exhibition will also feature different mediums, including sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy and a section on photography, featuring works by 20th century photographers Lee Miller, Bill Brandt, a rarely seen image by Eileen Agar and works by photographers contemporaries Wolfgang Tilmans and Simon Roberts, among others.To bring us to today, the Pallant House Gallery has also commissioned three new works by leading contemporary artists specifically for the exhibition and there will be a room dedicated to artists from Sussex working in the locality today.

“As our appreciation of the importance of the landscape around us continues to grow and our concerns about its future grow, this exhibition considers the work of artists who have captured its beauty and power over the past 150 years. .”

Sussex Landscape: Chalk, Wood and Water will open on November 12 and run until April 23, 2023.

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