Whistler and Nature: Compton Verney, Warwickshire

The art museum at Compton Verney is a most valuable resource for the south midlands and there have been many memorable exhibitions there over the years. Sadly, this exhibition is not one of them. The vast majority of the show is made up of loans from The Hunterian at the University of Glasgow who have one of the finest holdings of work by J.A.M. Whistler. Unfortunately the most highly prized painting are unable to leave Glasgow due to the terms of the gift to the University. This means that with the exception of one very beautiful painting of the Thames, with some Whistlerian touches of ‘japonisme’ (Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses), the vast majority of exhibits are small works on paper - drawings, etchings etc. Some of these pieces were exquisite but as I progressed around the exhibition I yearned for just a few paintings or larger items to leaven the somewhat monotonous fare. One of the highlights for me was a striking work by Whistler’s friend Albert Moore – a single female figure, in his typically complex classical drapery, against a windswept sky.

Battersea Reach from Lindsey Houses

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