British Watercolours from the Oppé Collection

6 February to 5 April 1999

One of the great collections of British watercolours will be on show at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester this spring. The Oppé Collection contains over 3000 works and its highlights will be shown as part of a Tate Tour from 6 February.

Paul Oppé began his great collection in the early part of this century, a time when watercolours were not prized and could be bought inexpensively in bookshops. He was a discerning scholar and used his collection as the basis for much distinguished research into British art at a time when there were relatively few students of the subject.

At the heart of the exhibition are watercolours by artists such as J.M.W. Turner, Francis Towne, and Thomas Girtin, but there are also watercolours by lesser-known and amateur artists on show. The bias is towards work from the second half of the 18th century, reflecting the collection's greatest strength and Oppé's main interest.

After Paul Oppé's death in 1957, the collection continued to be owned by the Oppé family until 1995 when it was offered to the Tate Gallery for the benefit of the nation. With the assistance of the National Heritage Lottery Fund, the Tate was able to secure the collection which is now touring galleries across Britain. Its showing at the Whitworth Art Gallery is particularly appropriate as the Gallery's own collection of watercolours was awarded Designated Status by the Government last year as a collection of national importance.

The exhibition is on show at the Whitworth Art Gallery from 6 February to 5 April 1999.


A Private View will be held from 5.30-7pm on Friday 5 February.

NB - the Gallery is closed on Good Friday, 2 April.
For further information and press images please contact Emma Marshall, Marketing Officer, on tel. 0161 275 7450 .

The Whitworth Art Gallery

updated 9.4.1999