Thanks to significant grant funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Art Fund, the museum has been able to purchase a fine watercolour of Malmesbury Abbey by J M W Turner. This will not be on display until further notice.
Developed from a series of early sketches, starting with a visit to Malmesbury when he was only 16, the work is one of the 96 watercolours which make up Turner’s set of ‘Picturesque Views in England and Wales‘ (1825-38). These views have long been celebrated as the finest of Turner’s topographical projects and noted examples of the picturesque movement. The England and Wales series embraced a diverse range of subjects from contemporary to more nostalgic subjects, recorded many years earlier. This view of Malmesbury Abbey falls into this latter category, representing a setting Turner had known since his adolescence, but enriched, when painted, with over thirty years’ experience.It is believed that this is the only finished watercolour of this aspect of Malmesbury Abbey.
Not only does this picture enhance the museum’s existing collection of Malmesbury related art, it also offers opportunities for us to run programmes and events aimed at celebrating, and engaging more people with, the town’s heritage and culture.
Here you can listen to an interview with museum volunteer Sue Poolman, telling the story of the Turner and its acquisition by the museum.
Pencil drawing by Tom Girtin of Malmesbury Market Cross.
This is a pencil drawing by Tom Girtin of Malmesbury Market Cross. It is drawn from Gloucester Street looking eastwards and shows as well as the Market Cross the projecting fronts of the houses on the south side of Gloucester Street. Girtin visited Malmesbury twice, in 1791 and 1797.
The drawing was purchased by FOAM in 1982 with the assistance of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Beecroft Bequest and North Wiltshire District Council and Malmesbury Town Council.