Famous Turner painting of River Tyne to be unveiled at South Shields Museum

JMW Turners Shields, on the River Tyne.
JMW Turners Shields, on the River Tyne.

A famous painting is set to be unveiled in South Shields this week.

JMW Turner’s Shields, on the River Tyne will be on display at South Shields Museum & Art Gallery from Thursday, September 8 to December 14.

The 1823 painting by the famous English Romantic landscape painter is the second in a series of high-profile spotlight loans to the museum.

It comes from the Tate Britain in London during the 165th anniversary of Turner’s death.

Geoff Woodward, manager of the Ocean Road museum, said: “Turner was arguably Britain’s greatest artist. His watercolour of Shields, on the River Tyne, is wonderfully atmospheric and reveals fascinating details of the riverside nearly 200 years ago.

“We’re delighted to be able to bring this world-class artwork to the museum for visitors to enjoy. I’m sure it will attract a lot of attention.”

Coun Alan Kerr, deputy leader of South Tyneside Council, with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for residents and visitors to the borough to see this iconic watercolour of the River Tyne in South Shields.

“The painting captures the borough’s rich mining history and is a reflection of the town’s industrial past.

“This piece in particular is poignant thanks to its deep connections to the town’s history and its future. The painting’s setting is close to The Word, the National Centre for the Written Word, and is an example of how far South Shields has developed over the years to become a premium coastal, cultural and tourism destination.

“I would encourage people to view Turner’s classic painting, to learn more about South Shields history and how it inspired the English Romantic landscape painter.”

Shields, on the River Tyne captures a key period of Tyneside’s industrial heritage.

It shows keelmen shovelling coal from flat-bottom barges into the hold of a collier brig. The artificial hills formed by ballast from colliers and cinders from the salt and glass works can be seen on the South Shields riverside.

North Shields lighthouse is recognisable north of the river.

Shields, on the River Tyne will be on display alongside selected riverscape paintings from the South Tyneside art collection including works by John Scott and Charles Napier Hemy.

The exhibition will take place in the newly refurbished Art Gallery space funded by Arts Council England on the first floor of the museum.