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