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Taster talk: Turner vs Constable


  • 18 January 2019, 5 — 5.15pm
  • 14 February 2019, 2.30 — 2.45pm
  • 27 March 2019, 5 — 5.15pm
This event has now ended

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“He has been here and fired a gun”: Turner, Constable and the Royal Academy

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John Constable RA, The Opening of Waterloo Bridge (‘Waterloo Bridge, from Whitehall Stairs, June 18th, 1817’) (detail), 1832.

Oil on canvas. 130.8 x 218 cm. Tate: Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Clore Foundation, the Art Fund, the Friends of the Tate Gallery and others 1987 Photo: © Tate, London, 2019.

Drop in for a free 15-minute talk to unearth the hidden stories of the Royal Academy.

Learn more about the infamous rivalry between two of the most famous RA Schools graduates, JMW Turner RA and John Constable RA, whose relationship was never more fraught than on the eve of the Summer Exhibition in 1832. Turner planted a single daub of red in the sea of his painting Helvoetsluys; - the City of Utrecht, 64, Going to Sea, later finessing it to look like a buoy bobbing in the choppy seas. Upon seeing what Turner had done, Constable declared: “He has been here and fired a gun.” Constable argued that the red buoy made his work, The Opening of Waterloo Bridge, which consisted mostly of reds, look ruddy and unnatural.

In this series of taster talks, encounter the stories behind the RA’s Collection and its buildings from the perspective of RA staff.

Meet in the Collections Gallery. Taster talks are free and last 15 minutes. Ask a member of the team on site for further information.

● Fully booked

● Cancelled

  • 18 January 2019, 5 — 5.15pm
  • 14 February 2019, 2.30 — 2.45pm
  • 27 March 2019, 5 — 5.15pm

The Collection Gallery, Burlington Gardens, Royal Academy of Arts

Free, no booking required.