Turner watercolour on display at new Dudley Museum

A range of local scenes, including a watercolour by Turner have gone up at the new museum at the Dudley Archives ahead of its official opening this Saturday.

The pieces on display, which have been specially cleaned and framed for their unveiling, focus on scenes of Dudley and the wider Black Country, while a changing gallery of works on paper is also set to be unveiled at the end of the month.

The Turner, although relatively small compared to some of the large scale landscapes is a little treasure waiting to be discovered.  The piece entitled, Dudley Castle from Tipton Canal, is a watercolour, featuring the soft edges of the castle hill in the distance, while smoke billows from factory chimneys and canal workers feature in the foreground in this affectionate picture capturing the history of the area in a range of warm orange and brown hues.

Other pieces include Walter Scott Boyd’s daytime view of Dudley, a pastoral dream of cottages, fields and grazing cattle in the foreground, while in the distance church spires and factory chimneys reach toward industrial tinted skies.

The interior of Holy Trinity Church, Wordsley by Martha Alice Richardson features in a detailed scene with members of the turn of the century congregation sat in high fashion in church pews, heads turned toward their vicar as he delivers a seemingly captivating sermon. Richardson does an exceptional job of rendering the intricacies of the architecture and stained glass of this magnificent building in beautiful detail.

Other scenes include Dudley Market place, Limestone Caverns, Dudley Castle, Red House Glass Cone and feature amongst others, artists including the renowned Edwin Butler Bayliss, Ernest R Fox and David Cox.

The fine art pieces are just one element of the new museum, which includes geology, dinosaurs, glassmaking and sporting and social history. People will be able to follow a dedicated timeline, taking them through the different periods of the borough’s history.

There are also informal education spaces, a new education room and study areas.

The old museum in St James’s Road, Dudley, closed in December as part of a number of savings for the council. The new museum at the Archives boasts better parking and access to the galleries, and is at the heart of the tourism hub at Castle Hill. Councillor Ian Kettle, cabinet member responsible for tourism, said:

“The gallery spaces at the new museum are all set up and the team are adding the finishing touches over the next few weeks in readiness for the museum’s opening on Saturday 30 September.

“The new design of the museum, with its timeline approach gives a real flow to the pieces and gives visitors a better understanding of the borough’s history, from the pre-historic to the modern day.

“The fine art selection is a wonderful representation of the history of the borough and the Black Country, representing both the natural world and our proud industrial past.”

Dudley Council’s Fine Art Collection was started in the late 1880s, after the opening of the Art Gallery in 1884. The modern archives building on Tipton Road is now home to pieces from the collection formerly housed at the St James’s Road museum.

The new museum will be at the heart of the tourism hub at Castle Hill alongside the Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Zoo and Castle. It will be officially opened by paralympic medallist and multiple grand slam winner Jordanne Whiley MBE, at noon on Saturday 30 September.

The museum will be open from 10am – 4pm, Monday to Saturday.


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