BBC presenter opens environmental exhibition at Turner’s House | Local News | News | Richmond Nub News
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BBC presenter opens environmental exhibition at Turner’s House | Local News | News | Richmond Nub News

Chris Packham, CBE, radio presenter, author, environmental and animal rights activist, opened the exhibition A World of Care – Turner and the Environment at Turner’s House.

The presenter of BAFTA award-winning BBC series Springwatch took time out to open an exhibition at Turner’s House in Twickenham last week (4 July).

A World of Care presents a selection of works by JMW Turner, on loan from Tate, documenting a range of environmental issues.

The exhibition title is Turner’s own, and his words, spoken in the face of the “opaque curtain” of smoke covering London and the displays in the house he designed as his country home, help us understand the story of climate change, Chris said.

The host explained that he was interested in art and was an admirer of the work of JMW Turner, noting, “Turner was a man who was born in the age of sail and died in the age of steam.

“He witnessed the birth of the Industrial Revolution and captured some of its immediate effects.”

Chris added: “When it comes to the sunsets and the vibrant colours of some of his paintings, there is no doubt that pollution – whether from volcanoes or coal fires on the River Tyne… has enhanced the colour of the sky.

“There is a beautiful sunset in the exhibition… the power of the colours, the thickness of that impasto paint – it is loud, bright and powerful.

“But it also reminded me of his other paintings – he was fascinated by disasters.

“Those images where the sublime aspect of nature crushed humanity. Where nature almost reclaims what is its own.”

Chris Packham watches a rarely seen sunset, an oil painting by JMW Turner, at Turner’s House (by Lucinda MacPherson).

Chris, a supporter of the campaign group Just Stop Oil and an end to government investment in new fossil fuels, joked: “I was very pleased to be allowed in this morning without having my bag searched to see if I had a can of soup. Because of course I am often a supporter of Just Stop Oil and their tricks.

“We may disagree with the methods, and I certainly don’t agree with all of their methods, but it’s important that we understand the message.

“One way activists can do that is by spilling over into other aspects of culture. And today is a great example of that.

“To convey a certain message, we use the beautiful art of a long-dead painter who lived in extraordinary times, at the threshold of the Anthropocene. It makes us think about the impact we have had and continue to have on this world.

“The allegories between these images and how the sublime crushes humanity ring so true today.”

A World of Care combines an ecological interpretation of Turner’s work with advice on how to live sustainably and take action to alleviate these problems.

Tom Ardill, curator, explained: “That’s something we’re really passionate about here – this part of the exhibition isn’t just grim and dark. There’s a lot of beauty there too.

“And Turner’s work, of course, is a great reminder of why we’re trying to solve these problems.”

Turner’s House has partnered with Richmond and Twickenham Friends of the Earth to find practical solutions to the eight environmental issues featured in the exhibition.

Chris Packham agreed: “It’s important that we empower ourselves to be part of the solution. And that empowerment brings us joy and… a sense of purpose.”

A World of Care: Turner and the Environment runs until Sunday, October 27, 2024, Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For more information, visit