Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of Caernarvon Castle, with the Moon among Clouds

c.1798–9

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Dimensions
Support: 140 x 216 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D01864
Turner Bequest XLIII 43 a

Catalogue entry

Made with the page turned horizontally, like adjacent drawings in blue wash in this series of studies of Caernarvon (see under folio 40 verso; D01856; Turner Bequest XLIII 39a), this seems to show the castle by moonlight, and relates to the small composition studies in the contemporary Dolbadarn sketchbook including Tate D02069 and D02071 (Turner Bequest XLVI 49a, 50a). It is possible that Turner intended his white gouache disc to represent the sun, as in the finished watercolour of Caernarvon Castle exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1799 (private collection),1 but here its identification as the moon seems virtually certain.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.328 no.254, pl.47 (colour).

Read full Catalogue entry