5 June 2023

Artist shares Turner’s love of the sea in Teatime Talk at Malmesbury’s Athelstan Museum

Athelstan Museum Turner Teatime Talk.
A series of fascinating teatime talks continues at the Athelstan Museum in Malmesbury on Wednesday June 21. This time with an insight into Turner and the Sea

The renowned Romantic artist Joseph Mallord William Turner became known as ‘the painter of the light’ and ‘the father of modern art’. His watercolour of Malmesbury Abbey hangs in the Athelstan Museum thanks to funding from the National Lottery.

In this latest talk, History of Art, teacher Fiona James looks at how he used paint, light and colour to express the mystery and moods of the sea.

Fiona said: ‘The sea always beckoned Turner and I share his lifelong affinity. Days after being born in London, the family whisked me away to live on the coast in Cornwall. Thus I love being close to the sea in all its seasons.’

Fiona James - Athelstan Museum Turner Teatime Talk
Fiona James who will be giving the Athelstan Museum Turner Teatime Talk

Turner’s seascapes

Through Turner’s paintings of seascapes he pushed boundaries by reflecting the time he lived in and depicting the issues of the day. He shows some of the conflicts of the era, the growth of tourism and the plight of fishermen.

Fiona is keen to reassure people who may be considering coming to the event, that the talk is informal and not overly intellectual.

She said: ‘You don’t need to be an artist or to know a lot about art. It’s accessible for everyone and I want people to feel at ease, to raise questions and to think about what the paintings evoke for them.’

Fiona trained in fine art then history of art as a mature student. She then went on to work at the ICA (Institute of Comtemporary Arts) and at The Wellcome Institute in their picture collection. She then went into teaching and taught art and history of art at Clifton College, Bristol. Later she became head of History of Art at Cheltenham Ladies’ College for fifteen years. Today she teaches history of art to adults in Crudwell and Nailsworth. She often gives talks in her specialist areas of interest including British artists, the Arts and Crafts Movement and the Italian Renaissance.

Fiona’s tea time talk will take place in the Julia and Hans Rausing Building close to the museum. Tea will be served from 2.30 pm with the talk due to start at 3 pm. Tickets are £6.50 (including tea) and are available online and in the museum shop.

For more information and to book tickets online, visit: https://www.athelstanmuseum.org.uk/event/teatime-talk-turner-and-the-sea/

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