‘He (Turner) is the epitome of all art, the concentration of all power; there is nothing that ever artist was celebrated for, that he cannot do better than the most celebrated. He seems to have seen everything, remembered everything, spiritualised everything in the visible world. There is nothing that he has not done, nothing that he dares not do; when he dies, there will be more of nature and her mysteries forgotten in one sob, than will be learnt again by the eyes of a generation.’

John Ruskin, 1840


In 1861 the writer and critic John Ruskin (1819 - 1900), presented to the Fitzwilliam Museum twenty-five watercolours by the artist J M W Turner.  With his gift came the specification that the watercolours should not be displayed continuously, nor lent for exhibition outside the Museum. 


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