Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Bard Playing a Harp, with Other Figures in a Mountainous Landscape with a River and Lake in a Distant Valley

c.1799–1800

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 579 x 869 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04185
Turner Bequest LXX h

Catalogue entry

This large study seems to be complementary to the equally large Destruction of the Bards by Edward I (Tate D04168; Turner Bequest LXX Q): while it almost suppresses the landscape element in the design, its figures fit snugly into the composition of the other watercolour. A pencil sketch in the contemporary Dolbadarn sketchbook (Tate D02156; Turner Bequest XLVI 109), seems to be a preliminary note of this subject: the Bard, as described by Thomas Gray in his poem of 1757, awaits his fate at the hands of Edward’s army on a high crag, from which he will eventually precipitate himself. Another sheet (Tate D04165; Turner Bequest LXX N) contains studies of similar figures.
Technical notes:
The sheet is stained and torn.
Verso:
Blank

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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