Turner Bequest JMW Turner Bequest:  the source  JMW Turner Bequest; Turner Society News, Eric Shanes, Tate / Clore Gallery, expert opinion / Eric Shanes on the Turner Bequest, Medal / Turner Prize / Shanes Eric Shanes JMW Turner Prize                                                                Turner Medal

Once made of Gold  the "Turner medal" is now only Bronze. Early on, the accompanying cash prize was equal to an average annual income. Today it is only £50. The neglect of this once honoured prize can best be portrayed by understanding the early betrayal of the Turner Bequest itself. Turner's wish in the beginning was to have a substantial portion of his hard earned fortune put towards a home for derelict artists. His Wishes were denied when the flush Barristers for the Chancery Court unraveled his will.

Issues over the Turner Bequest were blurred further when the "Turner Prize" for 'contemporary art' was established in 1984. The award includes £20,000 - again - about an average annual income.

                             Eric Shanes, in The Oxford Companion somewhat disparages:

                                      "Since 1938 the R.A. has awarded simply a bronze medal plus £50 cash. Such small
                                             financial reward probably explains why the prize receives no publicity today."


                                             UPDATE: Turner Society News #94 2003    The New Turner Medal


"The Royal Academy has inaugurated a new Turner medal, the Windsor & Newton Watercolour Award, for the most outstanding work in the medium in the annual summer exhibition. The first winner of the award was announced at the prize giving ceremony at the RA on 27 May when Leslie Worth was presented with his medal and a cheque for £5,000, for his painting Gathering Rainstorms over the Downs.
"Leslie Worth is a former President of the Royal Watercolour Society and an Honorary Member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour." The President of the Royal Academy, Professor Phillip King presented the award. It appears that things are turning around. Turner Society News

Now that the Tate trustees have received the £15 million insurance disbursement (including accrued interest) for the stolen; yet now recovered paintings, Shade and Darkness and Light and Colour by Turner, it might be an appropriate time to address Turner's biggest dream--the establishment of a home for derelict artists!

 Art World’s Dirty Little Secret

   Ehrenbrietstein Cecilia Powell                                                     

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