Art Gallery of Alberta

Water Into Art: British Watercolours from the V&A, 1750-1950
July 20-November 24, 2013


image credits [click to view]


Joseph Mallard William Turner, Holy Island, Northumberland. c 1829. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

William Blake, The Resurrection. c 1805. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.



Since the late 18th century, watercolour painting has retained a distinctive identity and history in Britain and was deemed a “national art” in the 19th century. Watercolour was chosen as the primary means of expression by many British artists because of the versatility of the medium and the effects it could achieve. It was deemed ideal for both detailed works and expansive atmosphere effects alike. Plus, with quicker drying times than oils and the portability of paper over canvas, watercolours easily allowed artists to leave the studio, enabling them to capture the world around them such as, people in motion, the transient effects of weather and the close study of the natural world.

Water Into Art: British Watercolours from the V&A, 1750-1950 is a rare opportunity to view a rich selection of watercolours from the world-famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Featuring 100 artworks, this exhibition ranges from small sketches to fully realized works and includes examples from all of the leading painters of this period, including literary illustrations by William Blake, landscapes by J.M.W. Turner and nature studies by William Henry Hunt.

Water into Art: British Watercolours from the V&A, 1750-1950 is curated by Katherine Coombs, Curator of Paintings at the V&A and organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.