JMW Turner painting to go on show at Norwich Castle

Important early painting by JMW Turner saved for the nation with major support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Art Fund

An early masterpiece by Joseph Mallord William Turner, Walton Bridges, has been saved for the nation following generous grants from The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Art Fund.

Norfolk Museums Service led on the fundraising, partnering with Colchester and Ipswich Museums to create a wide-ranging and imaginative four-year programme of exhibitions, learning and public engagement across the region.

The magnificent oil painting, sold at auction at Sotheby’s in July 2018, was subject to a temporary export deferral, in recognition of its immense cultural significance to the country.

The acquisition is the first Turner oil to enter a public collection in the East of England where it will complement existing British landscape paintings by John Constable, Thomas Gainsborough, and artists of the Norwich School, including John Sell Cotman and John Crome.

The fact that Walton Bridges is believed to be the first oil by Turner to be painted in the open air – a practice which was to become an important element of his artistic approach – adds to its significance.

Walton Bridges will be displayed first at Norwich Castle from September 2019 and will then tour the region with exhibitions planned at Kings Lynn, Ipswich, Colchester and Great Yarmouth over the next three years, before going back on permanent display at Norwich Castle in 2023.