Joseph Mallord William TurnerCowes Castle, Isle of Wight ?1796

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Artwork details

Cowes Castle, Isle of Wight
Date ?1796
MediumGraphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensionssupport: 305 x 431 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXVII F
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Cowes Castle, Isle of Wight ?1796
Turner Bequest XXVII F
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 305 x 431 mm
Stamped in black ‘XXVII F’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
A pencil outline drawing of this subject was in the collection of John Anderson of New York (perhaps the only one of the 15,000 drawings that Anderson amassed and ascribed to Turner actually to be by the artist).1 The watercolour was possibly made for John Landseer (1769–1852); see the introduction to the Isle of Wight sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest XXIV). Alternatively, the name and address on the verso might indicate that it was used for teaching purposes, being lent to pupils for copying; see the section of such drawings made around 1794–8 in the present catalogue. Another view of Cowes Castle for Landseer is untraced.2
This composition is close to that of Paul Sandby’s view of the castle engraved by Scott in 1780 as pl.LXXXI of The Virtuosi’s Museum. Compare also the view in Henry Boswell’s Antiquities of England and Wales (1786).
See John Anderson, Jr, The Unknown Turner: Revelations Concerning the Life and Art of J.M.W. Turner with an Account of the Discovery of his Hidden Signatures and Dates and the Publication of the Only Known Manuscript of Any of his Sketching Tours, New York 1926.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.319 no.176.
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Mr Turner | Maiden Lane’; some watercolour splashes; not stamped.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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