VENTURING OUT – LOOKING FOR TURNER FOUND ZOFFANY

19 August, 2020

As the rules relax we are all venturing out a little, perhaps visits to family or favourite places.  Yesterday a trip to test how busy the transport system was and how a large gallery was coping with the rules proved to be a pleasant surprise.  A couple of buses, mainly the 11; which were only allowed to carry 30 passengers and thus we were very well spaced, took us to Trafalgar Square.  Again this tourist hot spot was hardly busy.  A free timed slot at the National Gallery gave us access to one of three routes through the standing exhibitions.  We chose route C for its Turners but were delighted to see them juxtaposed with Constables and many others – largely landscapes.  West London can claim Turner as one of its own and some members may have visited his home at Twickenham now newly restored and re-opened under COVID restrictions but with a small exhibition of his oil sketches see details.  It was a great visit but the first surprise was seeing Johan Zoffany’s painting of “The Sharp Family” on their barge Apollo at Fulham. Photography was allowed but this picture is on loan from a private collection so a rare treat that gives a feel for the area and the times. Granville Sharp was a respected resident of Fulham who helped found the colony of Sierra Leone and used his position to campaign for the abolition of slavery.  The second surprise was to see a Canaletto of the Rotunda at Ranelagh Gardens. Noticing the Ranelagh connection and delved a little deeper as had never heard of the Rotunda, which was demolished in 1805.

So well worth a visit to the National and to Turner’s House.  We even managed a snack lunch at the National’s cafe.

Talking of re-opening the London Metropolitan Archive will re-open with restrictions from 7 September details on their website. Likewise the V&A is open and the British Museum is re-opening too. So do venture forth and take in some more History and perhaps lunch. Let us all know if you find any historical gems.

II – POSTSCRIPT

For those wishing to find out more about Granville Sharp there is this entry on Historic England’s website and of course Wikipedia.

See Vernon Burgess’ comment below.