A MASTERPIECE worth £3.4 million by one of Britain’s most famous artists is set to go on display at Colchester Castle.

JMW Turner’s oil painting Walton Bridges will go on display at the castle between September 26 and March 28 as part of the new A Turner At The Castle exhibition.

The piece was painted by Turner near his home on the River Thames but was in danger of leaving the country after being sold to a foreign buyer.

However, in July 2019 a rescue bid was launched involving Colchester and Ipswich Museums and the Norfolk Museum Service to save it for the British public.

With the help of major grants from the National Lottery Fund, Art Fund and a private donor the painting was successfully saved after being sold at Sotheby’s for £3.37 million in 2018.

Julie Young, Colchester councillor responsible for culture and performance, said: “The acquisition of Walton Bridges is of great cultural significance to the East of England and will undoubtedly boost the tourism and cultural economy of the area as a result.

“I am immensely proud Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service were involved in helping to save this painting for the nation.

“I would urge as many people as possible to head to Colchester Castle to view this rather special painting.”

Over the next four years the painting will be toured across the east, with its first stop the Norman keep in Castle Park.

Friends of Colchester Museums is running the tour and will also be hosting a programme of education events across the region.

Philip Wise, heritage manager for Colchester and Ipswich Museums, said: “This is a significant moment for Colchester Castle.

“To be able to display an oil painting by J M W Turner, one of the greatest English romantic landscape painters of all time, is a huge privilege.

“Like his contemporary, John Constable, he preferred to work outside rather than in a studio.

“In the case of ‘Walton Bridges’, we have to imagine Turner in a small boat sketching the river scene in front of him.”It’s a truly remarkable piece of work and I’m thrilled to be involved in bringing it to Colchester.”

Visitors to the castle must book a timed entry slot in advance of attending.

Visit colchester.cimuseums.org.uk/exhibitions/turner for more information.