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Tea with Turner: A Lecture Series at Mystic Seaport Museum

Self-Portrait, c. 1799, J .M. W. Turner (1775–1851) Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 © Tate 2019
Self-Portrait, c. 1799, J .M. W. Turner (1775–1851) Tate: Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 © Tate 2019

Mystic, Conn. (January 7, 2020) — In conjunction with the exhibition J.M.W. Turner: Watercolors from Tate, now on display on the Museum’s Collins Gallery, Mystic Seaport Museum is hosting “Tea with Turner,” a weekly lecture series that features a lineup of prominent speakers who will explore the iconic artist’s world, including his travels, techniques, and the time in which he lived.

The “Tea with Turner” series runs every Tuesday from January 14 to February 11.

Tea and lectures will take place in the dining room at Latitude 41° Restaurant at the Museum. A traditional British afternoon tea will be served at 3:30 p.m. The talks begin at 4 p.m. Participants are encouraged to view the show beforehand (same-day admission is included for non-Museum members).

January 14: Turner’s Inhabited Landscapes

Alexis Goodin, curatorial research associate at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, will explore the significance of the human figure in Turner’s landscapes. More than markers of scale, Turner’s figures contribute to compelling narratives that reveal social, cultural, and political concerns of Turner’s day. Goodin will discuss works in the exhibition as well as paintings in the Clark collection that reveal how Turner’s figures enrich and complicate his landscape paintings. Goodin recently curated the exhibition Turner and Constable: The Inhabited Landscape (2018-2019) and authored the accompanying booklet, Turner and Constable at the Clark (2018).

January 21: Turner and Switzerland

Constance McPhee, curator in the Department of Drawings and Prints at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, will explore Turner’s repeated visits to Switzerland, focusing on four seminal trips that he made to the area around Lucerne in the 1840s. Switzerland’s terrain and history were central to Turner’s artistic imagination, and its mountains and lakes offered him life-long inspiration. Using The Metropolitan Museum’s The Lake of Zug, 1843 as a touchstone, this talk will consider how the artist’s travel sketches offer fascinating windows into his process and supported masterful finished watercolors now regarded as highpoints of British art.

January 28: Why Turner?

Artist Ellen Harvey, who contributed to Mystic Seaport Museum’s recently published book Conversations with Turner, in connection with the current exhibition, will be discussing her own work, its relationship to J.M.W. Turner, and why she considers Turner’s work to be relevant to many issues we face today. Harvey is a British-born artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She is a 2016 recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in the Visual Arts and a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program. Her new project, Ellen Harvey and J.M.W. Turner: The Disappointed Tourist, will be opening at Turner Contemporary in the UK in the summer of 2020.

February 4: Turner and Industry

Glenn Adamson, senior scholar at the Yale Center for British Art, is a historian and curator specializing in craft and design. He will offer thoughts on Turner’s work in the context of the industrial revolution. Turner lived during one of the greatest periods of transformation in history, one with certain parallels to our own. His paintings sometimes captured the awe-inspiring power but also the trauma of these shifts.

February 11: From Mystic to New York: A Close Look at the Frick Turners with Susan Grace Galassi

After examining J.M.W. Turner’s watercolors of the 1820s on view in the Mystic Seaport Museum exhibition, Galassi will shift the subject to New York City to look in depth at two of the artist’s masterpieces in oil from the mid-1820s, both centerpieces of The Frick Collection’s West Gallery. These luminous harbors of Dieppe and Cologne reveal Turner’s preoccupation with Continental subjects following Napoleon’s defeat and the lifting of travel bans. They also showcase the artist’s technical experimentation in which he brought qualities of the watercolor medium into oil paint, arousing the ire of critics and leading to a turning point in his art. Susan Grace Galassi is curator emerita of The Frick Collection. In 2017, she was co-curator with Ian Warrell and Joanna Sheers Seidenstein of Turner’s Modern and Ancient Ports: Passages Through Time.

Tea with Turner Tickets

Afternoon tea will be served at 3:30 p.m. Talks begin at 4 p.m. Both events take place in the Latitude 41° Restaurant Dining Room at Mystic Seaport Museum.

Members: $30 per lecture, or $135 for all 5 lectures

Non-members: $35 per lecture, or $160 for all 5 lectures (includes same-day Museum admission)

Tickets can be purchased by calling 860.572.5331 or purchased online at https://mysticseaport.wpengine.com/tea-with-turner/

About Mystic Seaport Museum

Mystic Seaport Museum, founded in 1929, is the nation’s leading maritime museum. In addition to providing a multitude of immersive experiences, the Museum also houses a collection of more than two million artifacts that include more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography. The new Thompson Exhibition Building houses a state-of-the-art gallery that currently features J.M.W. Turner: Watercolors from Tate, the most comprehensive exhibition of Turner watercolors ever displayed in the U.S. Mystic Seaport Museum is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. For more information, please visit https://mysticseaport.wpengine.com/ and follow Mystic Seaport Museum on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.