Chichester homecoming for JMW Turner’s Chichester Canal masterpiece

As Pallant House Gallery celebrates its 40th anniversary and Chichester Canal its 200th, Pallant House Gallery are delighted to bring JMW Turner’s painting of Chichester Cathedral from Chichester Canal to Chichester to be part of the Gallery’s Sussex Landscape exhibition, which opens this November.
Joseph Mallord William Turner: Chichester Canal c1828, oil paint on canvas, TateJoseph Mallord William Turner: Chichester Canal c1828, oil paint on canvas, Tate
Joseph Mallord William Turner: Chichester Canal c1828, oil paint on canvas, Tate

Sussex Landscape: Chalk, Wood and Water is the first major exhibition to celebrate Sussex as a place of inspiration for artists. Featuring more than 100 works, including paintings, drawings, photography, and sculpture by more than 50 artists, the exhibition will explore the rich lives and work of artists connected with the Sussex landscape.

Simon Martin, director of Pallant House Gallery, said: “With its iconic chalk-cliff coastline and the rolling expanse of the South Downs, Sussex has a unique sense of place and of Englishness that has been explored by artists and writers across the centuries.

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"The exhibition will chart the ways in which Sussex has served as a site of creativity, exploration, retreat and alternative lifestyles. The exhibition will begin in the 19th century with some of Britain’s greatest artists: William Blake, John Constable and JMW Turner, whose 1828 painting of Chichester canal from Hunston Junction looking towards the Cathedral returns for the first time.

“On loan from the Tate Gallery in London, Turner made the work on one of his regular visits to Petworth House, home of Lord Egremont, his friend and patron, who had given Turner a room to use as his studio.

"Lord Egremont had invested heavily in the Chichester Canal, constructed as part of a scheme connecting London and Portsmouth by water.

"What we know today as the Chichester Canal is part of the former Portsmouth & Arundel Canal which opened in 1822 and consisted of a 12-mile canal from Ford on the River Arun to Portsmouth Harbour. The 20th century saw a further flourishing of the arts in Sussex. It became home to numerous leading artists and writers, including Eric Ravilious, John Piper, William Nicholson, Bloomsbury Group artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Surrealists Edward Burra and Paul Nash and abstract artists all of whose work will be on show.

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“The exhibition will also showcase different mediums, including sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy and a section on photography, with work by 20th century photographers Lee Miller, Bill Brandt, a rarely seen image by Eileen Agar and work by contemporary photographers Wolfgang Tilmans and Simon Roberts, amongst others. Bringing us to today, Pallant House Gallery has also commissioned three new works by leading contemporary artists especially for the exhibition and there will be a room dedicated to Sussex artists working in the locality today.

"As our appreciation of the importance of the landscape around us grows ever stronger and our concerns for its future mount, this exhibition considers the work of artists who have captured its beauty and power over the past 150 years.”

Sussex Landscape: Chalk, Wood and Water will open on November 12 and run until April 23 2023.