Miniature Lands of Myth and Memory

6th April, 11.30am-12 noon FREE with catalogue included in general admission of £8

Join historian and curator Dr Jacqueline Riding as she discusses J.M.W. Turner’s exquisite book illustrations for two of Sir Walter Scott’s epic Poetical Works and The Life of Napoleon Buonaparte.

Dr Riding is the author of Jacobites: A New History of the ‘45 Rebellion (2016) and Peterloo:The Story of the Manchester Massacre (2018)), and was consultant on the Mike Leigh film Mr Turner. She is a trustee of the house Turner designed for himself in Twickenham and curated its first exhibition of their collection of Turner’s lesser-known masterpieces.

J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851) and Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) were two of the most influential and successful celebrities of their day, with Scott’s poetry and prose breaking publishing sales records and Turner, praised for his sublime, romantic landscapes.

Turner and Scott first collaborated in 1818 on the Provincial Antiquities and Picturesque Scenery of Scotland, while Turner was still living at his Twickenham villa, Sandycombe Lodge. This exhibition, the first ever to be staged at Turner’s newly-restored home, is focused on their last collaboration before Sir Walter’s death in 1832; the illustrations to his Poetical Works and Turner’s next commission, the designs for the Life of Napoleon Buonaparte.

Combining Turner’s exquisite designs and Scott’s powerfully evocative text, Miniature Lands of Myth and Memory will take the visitor on a time-travelling journey through the north of England, the contested Border country between England and Scotland and the wild Western Highlands. Visitors are invited to follow a trail of landscapes, antiquities, folk tales and ballads that inspired Scott’s poetry, before turning to recent history, the warmer climes of France and Italy and the battle fields of Napoleonic Europe.

Jacqueline says: “Our first exhibition focuses on two of Georgian Britain’s cultural greats. Turner and Scott were uniquely suited. Both viewed topography as landscapes of myth and memory, the silent witnesses of past ages and more recent history. Turner’s exquisite designs, translated into elegant engraved miniatures, are a fitting celebration of the source of Scott’s inspiration and his extraordinary creativity.”

Admission price of £8 includes the curator’s talk, admission to the house for a self-guided tour and a full colour 22 page exhibition catalogue.