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British Watercolours

From the Collection of BNY Mellon

Tennant Gallery, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts

25 Sep — 16 Dec 2018

In the 18th and 19th centuries, British artists were using watercolours to capture their surroundings as they had never done before. This display brings together 25 exquisite works of the era, from BNY Mellon’s corporate art collection.

British Watercolours will focus on prominent Royal Academicians such as Thomas Gainsborough, JMW Turner, John Constable and Sir David Wilkie, whose works will return to London from the United States for the duration of the exhibition.

Works include an 1833 view of Hampstead Heath by Constable, Italian landscape scenes painted in the 1770s by Thomas Jones and John Robert Cozens, an unfinished Study of a Bedouin Arab, 1840s, by John Frederick Lewis RA, and an expressive depiction of Venice by the critic and artist John Ruskin from 1876.

The British drawings and watercolours in the BNY Mellon collection were largely acquired in the 1980s, by Mellon Financial Corporation, prior to its merger with The Bank of New York in 2007. The collection initially consisted of a small group of British paintings but was carefully augmented in the early 1980s with British watercolours and American landscape paintings, with the intention of developing a group of works that would reveal the transatlantic exchange of ideas that took place during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The British works in particular reflected the taste of Paul Mellon (1907-1999), one of the most distinguished collectors of British art of his generation, who was the grandson of Mellon’s founder Judge Thomas Mellon (1813-1908).

25 September — 16 December 2018

Daily 10am – 6pm
Friday 10am – 10pm


Tennant Gallery, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts