Major maritime works by Turner go on display in Hull

An exhibition that unites Hull’s own whaling collections with works from by one of Britain’s greatest artists, JMW Turner, opens at Hull Maritime Museum on Saturday 7 October.

On loan from the Tate Britain’s national collection, The Turner & The Whale exhibition, co-curated with the University of York, is a major coup for Hull’s Maritime Museum during UK City of Culture 2017, the most successful year the museum has ever had.

Together for the first time in the UK, Turner’s three rare whaling scenes and one maritime scene date from the period when Hull held the title of the UK’s largest whaling port. It brings context to the Maritime Museum’s own nationally recognised pieces, including natural historical specimens, and whaler’s scrimshaw.

JMW Turner’s innovative art provides the perfect complement to the Turner Prize that bears his name, held this year at the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull.

Councillor Terry Geraghty, Hull City Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism and Chair of Hull Culture & Leisure Limited, said: “This rare exhibition will bring Turner’s whaling pictures into context with key parts of the Hull collections, and is displayed alongside Hull’s own whaling art, offering a unique insight into both Turner’s work and Hull’s finest artists. The exhibition is a great demonstration of our confidence as a maritime and cultural city.”

Professor Jason Edwards, History of Art Development at the University of York, said: “Turner’s works are shown alongside related scenes of whaling by Turner’s predecessors and immediate Hull contemporaries, and, perhaps most excitingly, by the whalers themselves and of the Inuit they encountered in the Arctic. Never before has Turner been shown in such various company. For me, what’s particularly important about the show is the way that it encourages us to think about both human-animal interactions and the Arctic, at a time of mass species extinctions and irreversible climate change.”

This exhibition is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Hull 2017, UK City of Culture and sponsored by the NPS Group.

The ‘Turner and the Whale’ is on display until Sunday 7 January 2018. Admission is free and open: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 11am – 4.30pm. It is also open until 7.30pm every Thursday.