Culture: In the Footsteps of Turner; an Artistic Homage to One of Britain's Great Painters Will Result in a Large and Popular Exhibition, as David Whetstone Reports

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Byline: David Whetstone

ARTISTS from three amateur art groups have been following in the footsteps of JMW Turner, one of the greatest of British landscape painters.

The artists from the Gibside, Knightsbridge (in Gosforth) and Stamfordham art groups set out to paint contemporary versions of the great North East landscapes recorded by Turner, standing - as far as is now possible - in the same location.

It has proven to be a mammoth undertaking but the North East artists have been aided in their quest by a tool which Turner, who lived from 1775 to 1851, never had at his disposal - email. Kathleen Gilbert, from Cramlington, who dreamed up the project after seeing a Turner painting of Dunstanburgh Castle in Tate Britain, says the first step was to buy prints of some of the artist's famous North East scenes.

"A painting of Alnwick Castle by Moonlight is in the Gallery of New South Wales in Adelaide so email has made matters a lot easier."

Contact had also been made with Yale University in America as well as the Royal Academy, Tate Britain and the National Galleries of Scotland.

The prints had to be bought so the amateur artists could work out where Turner might have been standing when he painted each scene.

In what has also proven to be an expensive project, further payment had to be made for permission to exhibit the prints.

These will be put on show at the Art Works Galleries, Stepney Banks, Newcastle, in September alongside members' own representations of the scenes.

Kathleen, who is chairman of the Knightsbridge group and also a member of Stamfordham, says she believes the Turner project is unique.

But it has not been without its problems.

"Some locations we couldn't get access to so we had to choose others instead. …