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Campaign launched to acquire JMW Turner's "The High Street, Oxford"

Today the Ashmolean announces the launch of a public campaign to raise the final �60,000 needed to secure for the nation a major work by Joseph Mallord William Turner.

The High Street, Oxford (1810), which has been on loan to the Museum from a private collection since 1997, has been offered to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax.

Gifts to this year's Ashmolean Appeal will both help the Ashmolean to secure Turner�s iconic painting, and support conservation, collection display and education programmes throughout the Museum.

Acknowledged as one of the greatest landscape artists of all time, JMW Turner painted over thirty finished watercolours of Oxford views, by far the most numerous group devoted to a single place in his entire output. The High Street, Oxford is unique in Turner�s output and in the history of English art. It represents one of the most beautiful streets in Europe, a street which has materially changed little since Turner painted it. Although he painted many townscapes in watercolour, Turner never again attempted such a picture in oils.

Visitors will be able to see the painting on display in the Ashmolean's Welcome Gallery, on the Ground Floor, from today.

Follow this link to find out more about the Painting and the Campaign

JMW Turner's 'The Hight Street, Oxford (1810)

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775�1851), High Street, Oxford, 1810, oil on canvas, Private Collection

The painting would settle �3.5 million of inheritance tax � which is more than the tax liable on the estate - so the Ashmolean must raise the difference, �860,000, to acquire the painting. Over 90% of this sum has been secured already. The Museum has received lead support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with a grant of �550,000; a grant of �220,000 from the Art Fund; and a further �30,000 from the Friends and Patrons of the Ashmolean.

Dr Alexander Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean, says: "The importance of keeping this beautiful painting in Oxford cannot be overstated. High Street, Oxford is the young Turner�s most significant townscape and the greatest painting of the city that has ever been made. �We are profoundly grateful to the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Art Fund and our patrons who have already shown their support for this campaign. If the Ashmolean does not acquire the painting, it will be sold on the open market. All major oil paintings by Turner that have been offered at auction in recent years have been bought by foreign buyers."

To keep up with our progress, and to find out about how you can get involved, please visit our campaign page at


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