Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Cilgerran Castle

c.1828

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

Medium
Watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions
Support: 311 x 490 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25141
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 19

Catalogue entry

This colour study has been linked by Eric Shanes to the watercolour Kilgarren [sic] Castle, Pembroke of about 1829 (private collection),1 engraved in 1829 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impression: T04540). David Hill has noted the ‘tentative’ status of Shanes’s identification,2 as has Shanes himself, particularly since the Pembrokeshire castle has two prominent towers, although the southern tower is pale in the brilliant dawn light of the England and Wales view from the north, partly eclipsed by the dark northern tower.3
There are various pencil and watercolour studies of the site above the River Teifi in the 1798 Hereford Court sketchbook (Tate D01279–D01281, D01342, D01354; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 28, 28a, 29, 88, 100) and a watercolour (Manchester Art Gallery)4 and oil paintings (National Trust;5 private collection;6 New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester;7 and currently untraced8) made within a year or so.
Tate D25270 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 148) has been tentatively proposed as another Cilgerran study. See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.394 no.806, reproduced.
2
Hill 1997, p.7.
3
Shanes 1997, p.42.
4
Wilton 1979, p.326 no.243, pl.44.
5
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.8–9 no.11, pl.9 (colour).
6
Ibid., p.29 no.36, pl.32.
7
Ibid., pp.29–30 no.37, pl.33
8
Ibid., p.312 no.541.
Technical notes:
Shanes notes that Turner has blended and removed colour towards the left using as sponge while the paper was damp, where the ‘tonal delicacy imparts a limitless feeling of space and a powerful sense of mystery’1 in conjunction with the silhouetted tower. The sheet is laid down on another of white wove paper, trimmed to exactly the same (slightly irregular) size.
1
Shanes 1997, p.43; see also p.24.
Verso:
Blank, save for inscriptions: in pencil AB [?168] P M’ bottom right; in pencil ‘26’ in circle at centre and ‘CCLXIII – 19’ centre right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘CCLXIII–19’ bottom centre; and in pencil ‘D25141’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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