This month in West Sussex sees a real winter highlight: an exhibition called Turner and the Age of British Watercolour opens at Petworth House on 7th January. Petworth is home to a spectacular collection of Turner oil paintings but this show brings together iconic watercolours by Turner and many of his contemporaries, including John Constable, Paul Sandby, Francis Towne, John Sell Cotman and David Roberts. These are on loan from other galleries and dealers, so this is a rare chance to see them all together and get under the skin of an important period of British art.
Turner and the Age of British Watercolour runs until 10th March and you can book online; I know that tickets for previous exhibitions at Petworth have been in great demand, especially after the house was so beautifully showcased in the film Mr Turner. The main house is open at this time of year and of course, weather permitting, you can walk round the vast deer park and the 30-acre woodland garden, or go outside the walls to visit the pretty town with its antique shops and galleries. Though even as a I say 'weather permitting' I'm looking at a beautiful print on my wall, by a local artist, the late Francesca Clarke, of Petworth Park in the snow...
Staying with the genre, you might also like to visit the Towner Gallery, Eastbourne, where Turner and Constable are also represented in a lovely exhibition called Towards Night - key paintings and prints in the Romantic tradition responding to aspects of nightfall. While you're there, do visit the Ravilious Room: both are open till 22nd January. If you've not yet seen the South Downs and other parts of Sussex as portrayed by Eric Ravilious, you're in for a treat - the Towner holds one of the largest public collections of his work.
January's a great time to kick back in a cosy cottage after the Christmas rush. If you're with us this month, have a lovely time - and if you're not, please feel free to browse our website and book early for the New Year!