The Independent Turner Society

Turner House, 153 Cromwell Road, London SW5 OTQ, Great Britain

Tel & Fax:  020 7373 5560;  Mobile:  07918 916381   


President:     Mary Archer-Shee                                                     Vice-President:    Stanley Warburton Chairman:   Robert Walmsley                                                               Treasurer:  Dominique Lambert Secretary:    Selby Whittingham


At a fundraising event for Turner Contemporary, Margate, held at the RIBA on 17 June, Sir Nicholas Serota said that the Tate will lend to it “any Turner it [TCM] chooses” (Londoner’s Diary, Evening Standard, 18 June).  This is in line with that Tate policy of scattering the Turner Bequest which is fatally destructive of the idea of a proper Turner Gallery as Turner conceived it.


This could only happen with the connivance of Turner’s admirers today, who either keep any disagreement to themselves or actively support a policy which will eventually end in the disaster of a plane crash  (that of the Air France airbus reminding us of that hazard).


Among the supporters is the artist Sandy Mallet.  More intelligently in a piece in the Antiques Trade Gazette (16 May, “Creating a feast for all the senses”) he has taken a leaf out of the Turner Museum’s book, advocating involvement of all five senses in the appreciation of art, and pointing out the long association of painting and music.


Professor Ken Howard RA is one of a number of artists who paints while listening to music.  Our visit to his London studio (formerly that of Sir William Orpen, Michael Noakes etc.) on 14 May was much enjoyed by all.  Ken and Dora hospitably entertained us and Ken related the story of his life and of his gradual acquisition of his treasured studio.  He has just completed the first volume of his autobiography.


The Turner Museum  has reported a step towards creating a new museum building – the provision of a site at Sarasota of two acres.


Graham Heathcote, who has undergone a major operation, announces the launch of his long-awaited  blog –


A visit to celebrate the restoration of the graves of John James and Margaret Ruskin at St John the Evangelist, Shirley, Croydon, on 18 July, 2.30pm, has been arranged by the Ruskin Society.


A further impetus towards a full account of Turner’s family has been given by new claimants to a relationship with the artist.  One has suggested that the most decisive way forward would be for everyone concerned to undergo a DNA test.


Professor Norman Gash CBE FBA (1912-2009) was the subject of an obituary in The Times (18 June), which pronounced his biography of Sir Robert Peel “perhaps the most judicious of all important modern biographies.”  Twenty years ago he said of the 1st edition of An Historical Account of the Will of J.M.W.Turner, R.A, “on your main conclusions I find myself very much in agreement.”


23 September 2009 – 24 January 2010.  Turner and the Masters.  Tate Britain.


Selby Whittingham                                                                                                  21 June 2009