A Day With Mr. Turner

Last Friday my friend Diego invited me to visit him while at work in the Yale Center for British Art. As a fellow freshman, he has been employed by the Prints and Drawings department to do research for exhibitions and catalogue parts of their massive collection. He says it’s a lot like working in a lab, but with prints instead of proteins.

When I came to visit, he first took me around the museum and told me background stories about pieces in the exhibit that he had been researching–my own personal tour guide. And I’m sure he couldn’t help but notice how hard I fangirled at the collection of Turner’s, whose work I had fallen in love with this summer on a trip to the Frick.

After the tour, he took me to the Prints and Drawings department, where he proceeded to use his own personal keys to retrieve a briefcase from storage of original sketches and watercolors by Turner. We poured over the works–a rough pencil sketch on a magazine page, a beautiful watercolor painting–pointing out intricate details like dates and signatures and watermarks. I was in awe. I imagined my visit to the Frick, standing and staring in a crowd of people at the works at least 10 ft from me, and thought that THIS, THIS is the way to do it.