An Introduction to J.M.W. Turner: Theory and Practice 2020 - The Courtauld Institute of Art

An Introduction to J.M.W. Turner: Theory and Practice 2020

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Spring and Autumn Courses 2020

An Introduction to J. M. W. Turner: Theory and Practice


Spring and Autumn Courses 2020

An Introduction to J.M.W. Turner: Theory and Practice 2020

An Introduction to J.M.W. Turner: Theory and Practice

Monday 23 – Wednesday 25 March 2020
Nicola Moorby

This intensive, introductory course is designed for everyone with an interest in the art of J.M.W. Turner.

No previous knowledge is required and the course is open to everyone over the age of 18.  The number of participants is limited to 16.

This course introduces students to the art of J.M.W. Turner through an exploration of his ground-breaking theories and techniques. Each day we shall take as our starting point a different medium – oil, watercolour and print – and examine the material properties and technical challenges specific to that art form. We shall discuss the contexts within which Turner operated and demonstrate the ways in which his art was both traditional and innovative, engaging with the past while also forging a modern sensibility designed to establish the pre-eminence of landscape within the contemporary British school.

In order to unlock some of the secrets of his extraordinary technical genius, the sessions will include accessible explanations of painting techniques and print-making processes, and thereby offer an enjoyable introduction to historical media and materials. Morning sessions in the classroom will be complemented by focused site visits in the afternoons. We shall take the opportunity to study some of Turner’s most famous masterpieces at first-hand, but also gain access to some of his lesser-known working materials, including sketchbooks and colour studies.



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. Nicola curated several exhibitions, including most recently, Turner and the Sun (Winchester Discovery Centre and Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke, 2017). She has contributed to numerous publications on J.M.W. Turner, 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 (NADFAS)-accredited lecturer.

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