Sunday, 18 September 2011

Nothing But the World of Youth at the Turner Contemporary Margate

I visited this exhibition for the first time today and it is very good indeed, I had my nine-year-old daughters with me and we had all afternoon, it just wasn’t long enough and we will need to go again.

Photography is not allowed at this exhibition so they took pencils and sketch pads with them, so they could copy any pictures they liked.

The four watercolours by Turner that are hung together, were painted when he was nine (according to the sign on them although my memory of his biography tells me they were done when he was eleven and they do look like the work of a talented eleven year old) so these were of special interest. Art gallery signage is in this instance is inadequate for the enquiring nine year old, what colours did he use daddy?

I gave my best guess on this one, Indian ink, sepia ink, chrome yellow, yellow ochre, rose madder, cobalt blue, burnt umber and a pencil. Any better information on this one would be appreciated, it was an off the top of my head in the gallery answer and my guess would be that Turner added some sort of opaque white to his watercolour paintbox in later life and that was about it.

Much subsequent discussion about how a ten year old boy could have only five paints in his box and some practical experiments have ensued. If you are wondering how a nine year old managed to get hold of something as precious as rose madder, mine managed it today.

Frankly I am finding it very difficult to be critical of this exhibition, so I will stick to my childrens criticism, this was mainly that the four Turner watercolours were pretty much the only pictures that were not done by people who were a lot older than they are. Frankly these were the pictures in the exhibition that they most identified with, two of them are of Minster Church and I have had to promise my children that we will go there so that they can have a go at painting it.

As I said photography is banned at this exhibition, although a great many people were taking photographs while I was there, partly I think because there isn’t anything in the way of clear signage and partly because in this digital age the ban is almost impossible to implement. I did take a few pictures before I saw any indication that you were not allowed to.

I also took some pictures of Margate today, here are the links

The main problems with the gallery still haven’t been resolved, which is a shame, see if you don't know what I am talking about.

One thing that does surprise me is the lack of news stories and reviews about this exhibition on the internet, it may be that people only want to write negative things about Margate and the Turner contemporary, something that it is very difficult to do after visiting this exhibition.

We genuinely had a good day out in Margate today and I honestly think that the other people who visited the exhibition will come back again, not to make any particular point about art but just because it was enjoyable, you could tell from the smiles on the faces.. 


  1. I touched upon it on my blog this morning, Michael. I'm planning to do a more in-depth review very soon! It was exceptionally good.

  2. I might even pop in there & see this myself. I confess I haven't been in the building yet...

  3. Thanks for this encouraging post. I am planning to go soon and we will make that sooner rather than later after reading this.
    Unfortunately I was suffering a major headache this weekend. feeling better now though.

  4. Luke I look forward to reading it, with the great diversity of artists I don’t think it will be an easy one.

    Peter when you do go have a look at the problems with the building, especially the safety aspect of the junction sending traffic into what looks like a pedestrian area, I would be interested in your opinion.

    Mrs TP hope headache is better, there are several films – worth watching – that are part of the exhibition and that would not be good with a headache.

    Incidentally as you need quite a long time to do the whole exhibition it may be as well to park in Dreamland which is £2.50 for the whole day.


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