Turner painting to go on display for first time in nearly 200 years

A painting by JMW Turner will go on display for the first time in nearly 200 years this summer.

The watercolour of Malmesbury Abbey will be exhibited by Athelstan Museum in the Wiltshire town after a £380,900 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund aided the purchase of the piece from a private owner.

The romantic painter completed the watercolour in 1827 and it has not been displayed publicly since 1833.

Malmesbury Abbey which is depicted in the JMW Turner painting (Luke MacGregor)
Malmesbury Abbey which is depicted in the JMW Turner painting (Luke MacGregor)

The work is among many other heritage objects which are on display for the first time this summer, including a 3,000-year-old Bronze Age sword that will be exhibited at the County Fermanagh museum in Enniskillen Castle.

The sword was first found near Lough Erne in Enniskillen in 1952 and was in private ownership until a group, supported by the Lough Erne Landscape Partnership and the Heritage Fund, brought it back to near its founding place.

A 160-million-year-old fossil from the crocodile family, which palaeontologists consider to be a new and yet undescribed species, will also be on display at the Bath Royal’s summer exhibition.

Other objects on display include the original Jolly Fisherman painting by John Hassall, which became one of the most famous seaside posters, at the new Tower Pavilion, Skegness after a £4,000 Heritage Fund grant helped restore it, and a glass time capsule dating back to 1873 will be shown at the Manchester Jewish Museum.

The red shirt explorer David Livingstone was wearing when he was found by journalist Henry Morton after going missing in Africa will also be on display in his birthplace museum in South Lanarkshire.

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The Heritage Fund has invested more than £400 million into the heritage sector over the last year, helping more than 1,500 organisations and assisting hundreds of places to reopen this summer.

It helped distribute the Culture Recovery Fund on behalf of the Government, alongside Historic England.

Chief executive of the Heritage Fund, Ros Kerslake, said: “These are just some of the fascinating heritage objects that people are able to see this summer, thanks to the support of National Lottery players.

“As venues reopen I am pleased that the Heritage Fund has enabled these new discoveries to see the light of day.”