Autumn Open Exhibition
12 October until 11 January 2020

This prominent and popular northern art exhibition returns for 2019. Embracing of those with a connection to Harrogate, the Mercer Art Gallery Autumn Open Exhibition provides a high profile, visual platform for contemporary regional artists to present their work to the public. From hundreds of entries, around 120 exhibits will be displayed, with the overall winner announced at a special Preview Evening on Friday 11 October. It's time to get your paint brushes out!

For more information please visit www.harrogate.gov.uk/open2019.


Flying Eye brings Hilda to Harrogate
Monday 4 November until Sunday 24 November

The incredible Flying Eye Books is bringing an exclusive Hilda exhibition to the Mercer Gallery. With working sketches from Luke Pearson, cool cut outs and lots of behind the scenes pieces you've never seen before! Great for the whole family.

Visit the Thought Bubble website for all the details.


Turner: Northern Exposure
18 January until 18 April 2020

The Mercer Art Gallery is the final destination of 'Northern Exposure', the extraordinary touring exhibition which is following in the footsteps of JMW Turner's own tour of the North of England in 1797.

Some of the most critically acclaimed and rarely seen masterpieces of the visionary painter - described by art critic, John Ruskin as 'the greatest of the age' - will be on display.

The Turner loans are supported by the Weston Loan Programme with Art Fund. Created by the Garfield Weston Foundation and Art Fund, the Weston Loan Programme is the first ever UK-wide funding scheme to enable smaller and local authority museums to borrow works of art and artefacts from national collections.

In 1797 and 22 years of age, Joseph Mallord William Turner set out on an eight-week sketching tour of the North of England; a journey that transformed him from an architectural draughtsman to a poet of the landscape sublime. After leaving London, he travelled up the country visiting many of the great castles and abbeys in Yorkshire, Co. Durham and Northumberland before reaching Berwick and turning west to Cumbria and the Lake District.

Northern Exposure illustrates his journey, taking in three galleries in the areas he visited on his northern tour, with the final destination being the Mercer Art Gallery in Harrogate from 18 January, which will host 13 stunning colour studies on loan from the Turner bequest at Tate, alongside two of Turner's sketchbooks, which he carried with him throughout this journey.

"As Turner came north he was exposed to weather, light, landscape and the vivid conditions of the world of the north. So he set off as an architectural draughtsman and came back a poet of the landscape sublime," says David Hill, a Turner expert, author and emeritus professor at the University of Leeds.

"This is the first time that a Turner exhibition has concentrated on the colour studies that Turner made from the sketches of his 1797 tour, paintings which uniquely reveal the creative process that he was developing.

"This small but highly focused show reveals Turner's response to Yorkshire and quite uniquely as the last venue of the tour, it is only one to feature St Agatha's Abbey which is one Turner's most critically acclaimed masterpieces," confirms Professor Hill.

Sophia Weston, Trustee of the Garfield Weston Foundation, said: "We are so delighted to support the Mercer Art Gallery and its exquisite exhibition of Turner works. It's incredible to see how much this programme is empowering venues like the Mercer in Harrogate and ensuring our national treasures can be seen by audiences in the context of their own area and local heritage."

The Mercer Art Gallery will also be hosting a complimentary exhibition of artworks by acclaimed Yorkshire Landscape painters, including Katherine Holmes and Emerson Mayes, who will each be showcasing new works created in response to some of the places which inspired Turner on his tour, shown alongside landscape paintings selected from Harrogate's Fine Art Collection.

Please contact us by emailing museums@harrogate.gov.uk or call 01423 556188 to arrange visits for schools and groups.

Turner Northern Exposure exhibition teachers notes


Their Safe Haven, Hungarian Artists in Britain from the 1930s
25 April until 26 September 2020

The 1920 Treaty of Trianon, signed at Versailles, split Hungary apart, pushing artists westwards. This exhibition follows those who made their lives across the Channel, celebrating a particular contribution to British culture. Joseph Bato, George Buday, Imre Goth, George Mayer-Marton, Jean-Georges Simon and Istvan Szegedi-Szuts brought individual talent to areas like the film industry, modern mosaics and book illustration. Rarely-seen paintings from public collections will complement archival research in this new exhibition.

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Page last updated 01/10/2019