i JMW Turner, Lake Geneva and Mount Blanc, 1802-5. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1977.14.6301

15 – Travelling Light: Turner, Constable and the Shape of British Art

Course 15

Nicola Moorby

Summer School – Online
Monday 28 June – Friday 2 July 2021

You can still enroll on this course by 17:00 [London], Thursday 24 June. Please email short.courses@courtauld.ac.uk

Course description

This course will explore a fascinating aspect of British art history, the parallel careers of John Constable and J.M.W. Turner. Between them, these giants of landscape painting revolutionised the status of their genre, transforming the depiction of place through empirical experience and emotive response. However, their approaches were very different. Turner roamed throughout Britain and the Continent in search of inspirational scenery, combining observation of nature with literary and historical references. By contrast, Constable nurtured his vision at home, rooting himself in the familiar and the everyday. As well as comparing differences and similarities within their works, we shall examine the wider cultural contexts pertinent to their careers: the reproductive print market, the nineteenth–century experience of travel, and particularly the role of the Royal Academy in London, the arena where their robust professional rivalry was played out. We shall also look closely at their materials and techniques, particularly their innovations with oil paint, watercolour and their use of sketchbooks. The course culminates with a discussion of their respective artistic legacies and their changing reputations through the twentieth century and beyond.

Lecturer’s biography

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 Arts Society accredited lecturer and has recently appeared as an expert on television and radio.