Date Posted: 20th November 2019

It was good to see many familiar faces at the special showing of Mr Turner at The Alhambra Cinema in Keswick yesterday. Charli Summers from Tullie House gave an enlightening and interesting 5 minute introduction. Afterwards several people told us they were going to see the exhibition as a result. I first saw the film when it was released in 2014 but had forgotten much of it and the 2+ hours passed very quickly. I think it meant a lot more to me having seen the sketch books and watercolours in the flesh at the exhibition a few weeks ago.

As I walked past the 17th century George Hotel, the oldest coaching inn in Keswick, a little further down St John Street, it occurred to me that the 22 year old Turner probably stayed there on his first visit in 1797. He travelled by stagecoach which stopped at coaching inns on the way and then hired a horse to take him to the places he sketched in pencil and watercolour. As we see in the film, the camera was only just being invented at the end of his life. He couldn’t possibly even imagine that his life and death would be depicted in a cinema yet to be built a little further up the road from where he stayed.

Mr Turner will be shown again this Friday 22nd November at 1pm.  As I suspected I will be doing the introduction this time.  Maybe after the showing I’ll pop into The George and drink a toast to Turner – hailed by Ruskin as the greatest painter of the age.

Come and see the film and then go to Carlisle and see the two thick leather bound sketchbooks he took with him on that visit.  He used the smaller one all the way North from Derbyshire to Berwick on Tweed and across to Carlisle but saved the larger one for the Lake District as though he knew it would be the most dramatic landscape of the journey. You can see these and the larger detailed watercolours he made on the spot as well at Tullie House in Carlisle. It makes it all come vividly alive – gives me the shivers to imagine it!

  •  The exhibition Northern Exposure continues until 5th January 2020
  • There are conducted tours of the Turner and Rembrandt exhibitions at Tullie House  see for booking details  01228 618718