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British Watercolours: From the Collection of BNY Mellon at the Royal Academy – 25th September to 16th December 2018

In September 2018, the Royal Academy will present British Watercolours: From the Collection of BNY Mellon in the Tennant Gallery. The free exhibition will present twenty-five British watercolours and drawings from BNY Mellon’s corporate art collections which were created in the first hundred years of the Royal Academy’s existence between 1770-1870. The exhibition marks the Royal Academy’s 250th anniversary this year.

David Cox, Drovers Crossing a River Valley in Wales, 1840. Collection of BNY Mellon; photography by Adam Milliron.

British Watercolours will focus on prominent Royal Academicians such as Thomas Gainsborough, JMW Turner, John Constable and Sir David Wilkie, whose works will return to London from the United States for the duration of the exhibition. Highlights will include an 1833 view of Hampstead Heath by John Constable RA; Italian landscape scenes painted in the 1770s by Thomas Jones and John Robert Cozens; an unfinished Study of a Bedouin Arab, 1840s, by John Frederick Lewis RA; and an expressive depiction of Venice by the critic and artist John Ruskin from 1876.

Cornelius Varley,Nottingham Castle from the Trent, 1828. Collection of BNY Mellon; photography by Adam Milliron.

The British drawings and watercolours in the BNY Mellon collection were largely acquired in the 1980s, by the Mellon Financial Corporation, prior to its merger with The Bank of New York in 2007. Mellon’s corporate art collection was established to artistically enhance the workplace and to be enjoyed by its employees and customers whilst bringing an important cultural and educational asset to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where Mellon Financial Corporation had its corporate headquarters. The collection initially consisted of a small group of British paintings but was carefully augmented in the early 1980s with British watercolours and American landscape paintings, with the intention of developing a group of works that would reveal the mutual transatlantic exchange of ideas that took place during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

For more information, visit the Royal Academy website here

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