Joseph Mallord William Turner

Colour Study: Llanberis Lake and Snowdon

c.1799–1800

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 547 x 765 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04182
Turner Bequest LXX e

Display caption

While the sketches Turner made outdoors record the landscape south of Snowdon, the studio work he produced subsequently focuses on sites of historic and literary resonance which lie adjacent to the mountain and to the north. This move towards high art is most apparent in his depictions of castles, and narrative subjects, exhibited elsewhere in this gallery. In the following four views, however, it is the pictorial potential of natural landscape features which is Turner's primary concern. Forsaking topographical accuracy, these studies are compelling experiments in idealised landscape painting. They embody Turner's progress beyond the conventions of tightly controlled watercolour painting, and transcend Wilson's influence in the production of powerful atmospheric effects.

Gallery label, September 2004

Catalogue entry

This is one of the ‘colour beginnings’ that Finberg thought showed Llyn Cwellyn,1 but which are in fact preparatory studies for the group of views looking across Lake Llanberis towards Dolbadarn Castle and Snowdon (see Tate D04175 and D04176; TB LXX X, Y). Other beginnings in the sequence are Tate D04180 and D04181 (Turner Bequest LXX c, d).
1
Finberg 1909, I, p.177.
Technical notes:
There are smears of colour at edge, unrelated to the mauve of the main study, including a large field of gamboge (deep yellow).
Verso:
Blank

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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