The Turner House Gallery and its Turner paintings was bequeathed in trust to the people of Penarth by the flour magnate James Pyke Thomson

The Turner House Gallery and its Turner paintings was bequeathed in trust to the people of Penarth by the Victorian flour magnate James Pyke Thomson

Although not trumpeted in Penarth Town Council’s latest press release on its “Vision Aims and Objectives 2017-2022″ , it appears as though the long-running campaign to restore the running of the town’s Turner House Art Gallery to local control has now been espoused by the council itself.

Turner House, in Plymouth Road,  is currently owned by the National Museum of Wales but is currently leased by the Museum to the tax-payer-funded “charity” Ffotogallery as a venue for only photographic exhibitions – some of which are criticised for being of dubious quality and of questionable artistic merit.

In a later age Turner would probably have been a news photographer. This is one of his depictions of the Houses of Parliament on fire

In a later age J.M.W. Turner would probably have been a news photographer. This is one of his  images of the Houses of Parliament ablaze in 1834  – captured on canvas as it happened

However the Turner House Gallery itself and its original Turner paintings had originally been bequeathed in trust to the people of Penarth by the gallery’s creator and benefactor  – the Victorian flour magnate and art connoisseur James Pyke Thomson [ the full saga is told on ]


In its “Vision” document Penarth Town Council says that it aims to:-

  • Operate Turner House Gallery [ PDN Note: It is not clear what the word “operate” actually means. The council does not have the financial wherewithal to buy-back  Turner House (and its Turner paintings) from the National Museum. Some ask why should it have to do so anyway.  The National Museum paid nothing for the Turner House – or its priceless artworks – in the first place. ]
  • Create a cultural arts and heritage centre than offers something for everyone
  • Negotiate with the National Museum of Wales regarding returning the gallery’s future use. [PDN Note: The National Museum says Ffotogallery is considered to be “an ideal Arts Council of Wales revenue-supported organisation to have in residence”. However Ffotogallery carried out unauthorised alterations to Turner House (a Grade II listed Building) – which the Vale of Glamorgan Council (as planning authority) had to force the National Museum to reinstate. Ffotogallery also attempted to sub-let Turner House for a monthly food market – a scheme which was dropped following a public outcry] 
  • The council says that a “Heritage Lottery Funding grant application and a future public works loan would be required to take Turner House to new heights . The town council could open the doors of the gallery in its current form for community use and a develop a timetable of events that would be supported by the  by the Development and Innovations Team  at the council”

This initiative, the council says, “Is not due to start yet”



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  1. Anne Greagsby says:

    It would be wonderful to return Turner Gallery to community use like an art gallery and town museum. Why havent they done this already after almost 5 years in office? In 2012 labour promised to renovate St Paul’s for community use ….we’re still waiting.

  2. Louise says:

    Penarth museum.

  3. Ian James Griffin says:

    What about the original “works of art” that are apparently in storage, and worth millions !!!????
    Would not be practical to display in the building for obvious reasons, so auction them and let the residents of Penarth benefit by means of reducing taxes.

  4. Chris David says:

    Interesting one about a reverse acquisition. Yes why should Penarth pay for something the NMoW had for nothing from us? Maybe a whip round to test this in court if it proves problematical. Anyway anything to get it away from the clutches of the vandals Ffhotogallery or whatever made up name it has. Getting the Turners back thought would be a problem because of ongoing security. But I’m sure Penarth could put Turner house to good use as an art centre of some sort. Three monthly exhibitions. Local artists quarter, Pat Rixon exhibition et al.

  5. CelticMan says:

    Penarth museum.

    • snoggerdog says:

      hear hear ! get ben salter {capn gorgeous} to display his magnificent collection,he could be reimbursed by having a sign up saying how you could if you so wished,purchase copies.also there are other artists out there like the well known painter christine morse,their is also a man who lives in cliff st who is a very artist,we could be the welsh ST IVES, the council could even dilsplay the old bench it took away from barclays! and while youre at it reopen the chun ho! happy new year you lovely penarthians.

  6. Grey local! says:

    There are many local artists in the area who could exhibit their work and a place set aside for children’s art would encourage young people’s interest in the arts. It would also be a perfect place for festival activities. Alongside regular exhibitions this may encourage more people to visit it. Like many orhers I have stopped going as it always seemed to be closed. perhaps local groups could get involved to help out.

Comments are closed.