Joseph Mallord William Turner Caernarvon Castle c.1798

Artwork details

Caernarvon Castle
Date c.1798
Medium Oil paint on pine
Dimensions Support: 152 x 232 mm
frame: 208 x 287 x 40 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
On display at Tate Britain

Display caption

Turner visited thirteenth-century Caernarvon in North Wales in 1798, and made lively colour studies in his Academical sketchbook (Tate). This oil sketch was an intermediate step towards a large watercolour version which he exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1799. As a young man Turner is said to have wept when he saw a seaport painted by Claude Lorrain ‘because I shall never be able to paint anything like that picture’. However, the Claudean model of a central sun over water flanked by buildings and shipping served him well in numerous paintings of classical history and myth.

February 2010

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