York Art Gallery

29 March – 23 June 2019

Our relationship with the environment and questions about mental health are explored through the watercolours and drawings of two of the most celebrated artists of the 19th Century in this major new exhibition.

To celebrate Ruskin’s 200th birthday, ‘Ruskin, Turner & the Storm Cloud: Watercolours and Drawings’ considers the eloquent critical relationship John Ruskin (1819-1900) had with the landscapes of J M W Turner (1775-1851).

Through new research, it reveals Ruskin’s response to Turner’s vision, together with his own experience of close looking at weather patterns, mountains and the built environment.

For the first time, this exhibition brings together works from York Art Gallery and partner Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, with substantial loans from national and regional collections and new commissions by a contemporary artist.

The exhibition book also explores these themes through multiple lenses, in a collection of new essays by artists, climate change scientists, art historians and curators.

The exhibition is shown in all three Madsen galleries, and is included in the admission price to York Art Gallery.

As well as a dozen works by Turner and more than 40 by Ruskin, the exhibition also includes art by their contemporaries such as Constable, John Inchbold and Hubert Herkomer.

Contemporary artist Emma Stibbon RA, has been commissioned to create a contemporary response to the concerns raised by Ruskin. In the summer of 2018 she retraced his steps, travelling to Chamonix to draw and photograph the glaciers around Mont Blanc.

Through powerful, large-scale ink drawings, she reflects on the effects of climate change on Alpine landscapes treasured by Ruskin and Turner. These drawings are on loan courtesy of the artist and the Alan Cristea Gallery.

After York Art Gallery, the exhibition will also be on display at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, from July 11 to October 5 2019.


“This is York Art Gallery at its very best” – The Yorkshire Times

“This exhibition not only displays a range of fantastic works by a range of fantastic artists, but it explores the complex issues at their core, making this exhibition extremely interesting and fulfilling…”  – Norman Rea Gallery

“The exhibition is very beautiful… such a treat” – Twitter review

The Nature of Looking

Designed and illustrated by Silver Pebble, ‘The Nature of Looking’ is an activity leaflet created to accompany our Ruskin Turner exhibition.

Click here to download The Nature of Looking.