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Last Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Turner's Hastings bought for town
The watercolour was sold at auction for 210,000

The largest of 10 known watercolours of Hastings by JMW Turner has been bought by the town's museum.

"Hastings: Fish Market on the Sands, Early Morning" was acquired at a Sotheby's auction for 210,000.

The museum said the purchase of its first Turner painting was a "major achievement" following months of tireless work on funding packages.

Turner's 19th Century painting shows an early morning market with the East Sussex town and castle in the distance.

Hastings Museum and Art Gallery already has a collection of Turner engravings, including sketches, objects and furniture from the painter's house, but this is the museum's first Turner watercolour.

Experts said the watercolour was "typical Turner" combining a dramatic and emotional response to nature with a fascination for human life and behaviour.

The painting will be on full public display in the town that inspired it
Sheena Vick
The watercolour, painted in 1824, shows fishermen and fishwives selling produce, joined by a group of fashionable women and a boy with a hoop.

It also has two figures in Greek costume, said to be a reference to the Greek War of Independence which had support in Britain at the time.

The painting will be put on temporary display in the town hall because of refurbishment under way at the gallery, but will become "the focal point of a display of Turner's work on Hastings and East Sussex", the council said.

Sheena Vick, lottery spokeswoman, said: "This particular work is of major significance for Hastings.

"For the first time in almost a century, the painting will be on full public display in the town that inspired it."

Turner visited Sussex frequently and first saw the sea in his early teens when he stayed with relatives in Margate, Kent.

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