Eton College has been associated with topographical artists and watercolourists since the final decades of the 18th century. Views of the college from the River Thames, or of Windsor Castle from the Eton side of the river, were favourite subjects for artists. Meanwhile, Alexander Cozens (1717–1786) became the first to offer drawing lessons to boys at the school. As the practice of teaching art at Eton developed, so too did the collection of Fine & Decorative Art. Today, it includes over 1,500 drawings and watercolours; the majority donated by generous Old Etonian collectors.
Watercolours from the Eton College Collections included some of the most significant 18th- and 19th-century watercolours from the collection here. Works by many of the most important British artists of the golden age of watercolour painting featured, including Thomas Girtin, J.M.W. Turner, John Ruskin and Paul Sandby. These works were first shown together at the Works on Paper Fair in London, in February 2017.
Curated by: Philippa Martin, Keeper of Fine and Decorative Art, Eton College with the support of James Mackinnon, Harry Moore-Gwyn, Charles Nugent and Guy Peppiatt, who selected the works.