Joseph Mallord William Turner

Clouds above a Landscape at Sunset

c.1820–40

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

Medium
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 172 x 240 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25424
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 301

Catalogue entry

The dark blue-grey forms at the centre left evoke a storm, while the red tints of the band of high cloud suggest they are lit by the setting sun casting a yellow glow at the centre. Gerald Wilkinson found Finberg’s prosaic title ‘Landscape: Evening’1 to be unsatisfactory for ‘a piece of very plastic brushwork’ with ‘some of the heroic style of the oil sketch for Ulysses [Deriding Polyphemus]’2 (Tate N02958).3
Nicola Moorby has also emphasised the physicality of the work, where ‘light exists only in contrast to an encroaching dark. The dramatic tonal curve concentrated around the left hand side of the sheet has been created using layers of paint which retain some of the momentum of the artist’s hand.’4 Compare the encroaching clouds in Tate D25460 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 337).
1
Finberg 1909, II, p.837.
2
Wilkinson 1975, p.159.
3
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.177 no.302, pl.305 (colour).
4
Moorby 2007, p.26.
Verso:
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘74’ towards top left, upside down; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLXIII – 301’ bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII | 301’ and ‘D25424’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
March 2016

Read full Catalogue entry

Explore