01/07/19 PRESS RELEASE: Ruskin, Turner and the Storm Cloud

Ruskin, Turner and the Storm Cloud

Abbot Hall Art Gallery will stage one of its biggest ever exhibitions this month: Ruskin, Turner & the Storm Cloud.

The exhibition opens on 12 July and runs until 5 October 2019.

It will include more than 135 works and stretch across six galleries.

It takes place during the 200th anniversary year of John Ruskin’s birth (8 February 1819).

Helen Watson, Lakeland Arts’ Director of Programming, said: “Ruskin, Turner & the Storm Cloud will be one of our biggest ever shows. This year is hugely significant in cele- brating Ruskin and we are delighted to have this landmark exhibition at Abbot Hall during the 200th anniversary of his birth. It’s particularly apt that the exhibition takes place in Cumbria - the home of Ruskin and the place he found most inspiration.”

John Ruskin (1819-1900) was the leading English art historian of the Victorian era, as well as an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, prominent social thinker and philanthropist. Born in London, he moved to Cumbria and its dramatic landscape became one of his big- gest inspirations.
JMW Turner (1775-1881) was a landscape painter, traveller, poet and teacher. Many peo- ple consider him the first modern painter. Ruskin said of Turner he was ‘the greatest of the age’.

Ruskin, Turner & the Storm Cloud examines Ruskin’s relationship with Turner’s work and the impact Ruskin had in highlighting climate change.
Abbot Hall is partnering with York Art Gallery and University of York on this exhibition. Works from both Abbot Hall and York Art Gallery go on show alongside substantial loans from national and regional collections.

This exhibition was first shown at York Art Gallery from March to June this year and was a massive draw for visitors.

Abbot Hall and York Art Gallery commissioned new work by contemporary artist Royal Academician Emma Stibbon as part of the show.

Stibbon has created a series of large monochrome drawings inspired by Ruskin’s and Turner’s visits to the Alps. She retraced their steps to see for herself how the the Alps have been impacted by climate change.

She has produced stunning large scale pencil drawings and cyanotype photographs that show how our natural environment is being destroyed.

The exhibition features watercolours, drawings and a portrait of Ruskin from the National Portrait Gallery, made in the aftermath of his first serious mental illness.
In 1884 Ruskin wrote about an encroaching “Storm Cloud” - a darkening of the skies that he attributed to the belching chimneys of the modern world. The imagery also allowed him to articulate his ongoing mental struggles.

Ruskin’s anxiety about darkening skies and polluted storm clouds is contrasted with his early interest in Turner’s luminous pictures.
The exhibition contains a substantial display of Turner’s watercolours, demonstrating his evolving style, and his creation of highly-finished sample studies of British and alpine landscapes. Abbot Hall’s The Passage of Mount St Gothard (1804) by Turner will be a key painting on show.

Cultural organisations in Cumbria including Ruskin Museum and Brantwood in Coniston will also be marking the anniversary of Ruskin’s birth with a series of exhibitions and events in 2019, making the county the place to visit for everything Ruskin related.

The Ruskin Museum holds the most comprehensive display in the Lake District about the life and work of John Ruskin. Brantwood is Ruskin’s former home where he spent the last 28 years of his life.

The exhibition has an accompanying publication, bringing together a collection of new es- says by artists, climate change specialists, art historians and curators.
More details of Ruskin, Turner & the Storm Cloud: https://www.abbothall.org.uk/exhibitions/Ruskin-Turner


Notes to editors:

For further information contact Dickie Felton dfelton@lakelandarts.org.uk

Images: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/j8phfcxns32h47l/AADRX6RVMI8zzkrHYq7AJiNga?dl=0

Lakeland Arts:
Lakeland Arts has a portfolio of galleries and museums in the Lake District. It’s venues are Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House. A new museum: Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories opened in March 2019.

Abbot Hall Art Gallery:
Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal opened in 1962. It has built up an outstanding collection and a strong reputation for showing exhibitions of national and international artists of the highest quality. In 2018 it showed work ranging from Claude Monet and Auguste Rodin to contemporary artists Elisabeth Frink and Alison Watt. The gallery and surrounding estate will undergo a major redevelopment planned to start in 2020.

Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry:
Abbot Hall also houses the Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in the former coach house and stables. The Museum opened in 1971. Immerse yourself in Lake District history, discover the region’s past in farming, mining and tanning. Find out about Swallows and Ama- zons author Arthur Ransome and stroll down a Victorian Street. The Museum also has a regular programme of exhibitions.

Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House:
Blackwell is situated in Bowness-on-Windermere and is architect MH Baillie Scott's great- est house. Built as a Lake District rural holiday retreat for the Manchester brewery owner, Sir Edward Holt, today it is an outstanding example of an Arts & Crafts House. Retaining most of its original decorative features. It is a perfect setting for exhibitions of historical and contemporary craft.

Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories:
Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories opened on 23 March 2019. De- signed by Carmody Groarke architects, this is a new world-class museum in a stunning setting on Windermere displaying an internationally important collection of boats which are all associated with Windermere. The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the major funder for the Museum. Grants are made possible by National Lottery players. The project is also supported by Regional Growth Fund and Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund.

York Art Gallery:

York Art Gallery, founded in 1892, is home to a rich collection of art spanning over 600 years, from the fourteenth century to the present day. Highlights include early religious Ital- ian panels, seventeenth-century Dutch masterpieces, Victorian narrative paintings, and twentieth-century works by artists such as LS Lowry and David Hockney, as well as the largest collection of work by York-born artist William Etty RA and a large collection of works on paper. The Gallery also holds the most extensive and representative collection of studio ceramics, showcased in the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA). Following a major £8 million redevelopment project which created sixty percent more display space and new gardens, the Gallery reopened in 2015 and now runs a dynamic programme of temporary exhibi- tions of both contemporary and historic art. www.yorkartgallery.org.uk

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):
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  • John Ruskin, Dawn, Coniston, 1873, Watercolour over pencil, Acquired with the support of a V&A Purchase Grant and the Friends of Abbot Hall, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria.jpg
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