Media, Materials, and Methods – Case Studies in Context
Watercolour: J.M.W. Turner’s Theory and Practice
Monday 19 – Friday 23 April 2021
This course introduces students to the art of watercolour through the case study of the nineteenth-century master, J.M.W. Turner. Starting with an examination of the material properties and practical challenges of the medium, we shall explore Turner’s ground-breaking theories and techniques specific to the art form. In order to unlock some of the secrets of his extraordinary genius, the sessions will include accessible explanations of painting techniques and processes, and thereby offer an enjoyable introduction to historical media and materials.
In addition, the course will contextualise Turner’s watercolour practice within the wider history of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century art. With reference to the artist’s predecessors and contemporaries we shall interrogate the idea of the ‘Golden Age of British Watercolour’, investigating the role of watercolour practice in the ascendancy of British landscape, and the attendant theories of the Picturesque and the Sublime. We shall also consider the commercial and professional platforms for the medium, including exhibitions and exhibiting societies, and the role of the reproductive print market.
Nicola Moorby is an independent curator, writer and lecturer specialising in British art of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. An alumna of the University of York (BA) and of Birkbeck (MA), she was formerly a curator and researcher at Tate Britain where she worked on the exhibition Watercolour (Tate Britain, 2011). Nicola has curated several exhibitions on J.M.W. Turner including Turner and the Sun (Winchester Discovery Centre and Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke, 2017). She has also contributed to numerous publications on the artist, was co-editor and author of How to Paint Like Turner (Tate Publishing 2010) and is currently part of the team preparing Tate’s online catalogue of the Turner Bequest. Nicola is an Art Society accredited lecturer and has recently appeared as an expert on television and radio.