Turner’s Modern and Ancient Ports


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Passages through Time

Susan Grace Galassi, Ian Warrell, and Joanna Sheers Seidenstein; With Gillian Forrester, Rebecca Hellen, and Eloise Owens

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An engaging look at one of the central motifs in the work of the great 19th-century painter

Widely considered Britain’s greatest painter, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) is best known for his light-filled landscapes and seascapes. A relentless traveler, Turner often turned his artistic attention to the theme of modern and ancient ports. In the mid-1820s, Turner exhibited two monumental, and controversial, paintings of ports: Cologne and Dieppe. Shocking for their intense luminosity and yellow tonality, as well as for Turner’s unorthodox handling of paint, these works marked a transition in the artist’s career as he moved away from naturalism and toward a new, poetic topography.
This in-depth study of these two seminal paintings also addresses a wide selection of Turner’s works in both oil and watercolor from the 1820s, placing them in the context of radical changes in British social and economic structures taking place at the time. Drawing from period travel accounts, contemporary critical commentary, and new technical analyses of Turner’s work, this magnificently illustrated book brings a fresh, new perspective to the pivotal middle years of Turner’s career.  

Published in association with The Frick Collection

Exhibition Schedule:

The Frick Collection, New York
(02/22/17– 05/14/17)

Susan Grace Galassi is senior curator at The Frick Collection. Ian Warrell is an independent curator. Joanna Sheers Seidenstein is the 2015–17 Anne L. Poulet Curatorial Fellow at The Frick Collection. Gillian Forrester is senior curator of prints and drawings at the Yale Center for British Art. Rebecca Hellen is paintings conservator at Tate Britain. Eloise Owens is a curatorial assistant at The Frick Collection.


The Frick Collection, New York
(02/22/17– 05/14/17)

“[T]his lively, attractive book takes as its subject two key paintings, Harbor of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile and Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening . . . present[ing] an informative, accessible discussion of Turner’s art.”–CHOICE

“This close reappraisal of Harbor of Dieppe and Cologne is merited, and gives scholars and students new paths into Turner studies.”—Nancy Scott, Victorian Studies
ISBN: 9780300223149
Publication Date: February 28, 2017
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Frick Collection
176 pages, 9 1/2 x 11
120 color illus.
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