Watercolour Stars: 18th & 19th century paintings from the Laing collection

21 Oct - 25 Nov 12

Dinant sur Meuse, 1839 by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)

Morpeth Bridge, about 1802, Thomas Girtin (1775-1802)

Skating, about 1810 by John Augustus Atkinson (1775-1833)

View in Surrey, about 1863-1890 by Myles Birket Foster (1825-1899)

Dinant sur Meuse, 1839 by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851)

Stunning pictures feature in this exhibition, including master works by JMW Turner, Thomas Girtin, and David Cox. Their pictures demonstrate how artists developed the atmospheric effects of light and weather that made British watercolours famous. They are on show alongside pictures by JS Cotman, JR Cozens, Francis Towne, David Cox, Peter de Wint and Samuel Palmer.

North-East views feature in the show, together with pictures by local artists, including TM Richardson, Luke Clennell and Ralph Hedley. Several pictures by Myles Birket Foster, who was born locally, are also on view. Foster had an amazing mastery of technique, and his pictures make full use of the new bright pigments that became available during the 19th century.

Many artists travelled around Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries, and they were often drawn to wild landscape in Scotland, Wales, and the North of England. Others, like Helen Allingham, chose to concentrate on nostalgic country scenes.

Quite a few artists also travelled abroad, bringing back bright, sunny views and exotic scenes. These pictures include Turner’s tiny, glowing colour study on the River Meuse in Belgium, David Roberts’ study of the palace at Granada in Spain, and a beautifully detailed scene by JF Lewis, who lived for many years in Egypt.

The exhibition also includes studies of people and animals. The subjects range from George Morland’s rural workers to JA Atkinson’s charming scene of ice-skating, and Joseph Crawhall’s richly coloured image of a tawny owl.

Read more about these themes by visiting our blog here or by clicking on the information to the right of the screen.