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Home | Articles | Gainsborough to Turner: British Watercolors from the Spooner Collection

Hermitage Rooms, South Building, Somerset House
Strand, London
November 17 2005–12 February, 2006
For more information call +44 (0) 207. 845. 4630 or visit www.hermitagerooms.org.uk.

Visitors to Somerset House will have a rare opportunity to see the remarkable Spooner collection of early British watercolors. William Wycliffe Spooner (1882–1967), a successful inventor of an industrial drying process, acquired his first drawing while still struggling to make his mark as an engineer. He
bequeathed his collection on his death to the Courtauld Institute of Art. On exhibit for the first time since 1968 are 80 works that include outstanding landscape and figurative subjects by Thomas Gainsborough, Paul Sandby, Francis Towne, John Constable, and J.M.W. Turner, and others. Rural landscapes dominate the collection, from Gainsborough’s “invented” compositions of woods, cattle and sheep in the early 1780s to closely observed river scenes made “on the spot” in Wales by William James Muller some 60 years later.

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