I was sorry to read last week of the death at the age of 90 of artist William Turnbull (above). You can read fine obituaries of him by Michael McNay for the Guardian and Mark Hudson for The Arts Desk, and there is a fine website devoted to his art here. I first encountered his work when at the impressionable age of 16 I saw the 1971 exhibition of ‘the Alistair McAlpine Gift’. The peer who has been so much in the news lately was then a noted a collector of contemporary art and he had donated to the Tate Gallery sixty works by seven sculptors, including Turnbull. For a long time many of these colourful modern pieces were a bit of an embarassment to Tate and they sat undisturbed in the stores, but more recently their particular qualities have begun to be recognised more. Turnbull too remains comparatively little-known, even if his work has been widely admired and quietly influential. So I was pleased to see last week’s acknowledgement of his achievements, even as his death led me to reflect on our DVD series theEYE - for which we filmed William Turnbull in 2005 - and on its afterlife.
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