Joseph Mallord William Turner

Donkeys beside a Mine Shaft

c.1805–7

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

Medium
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 577 x 780 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04160
Turner Bequest LXX I

Technique and condition

This pencil, watercolour and gouache composition has been executed on white wove paper watermarked ‘HAYES & WISE 1799’. A preliminary sketch of the composition was drawn before paint was applied. The donkeys have been sketched and their limbs shaded in, which is an unusual practice for Turner. Watercolour applied over the top of the pencil shading gives the donkeys a metallic sheen. The watercolour was applied very wet to the donkeys, producing a very hard edge. Pigments used include Mars red, black, Indian yellow and possibly indigo.

Helen Evans
October 2008

Revised by Joyce Townsend
February 2011

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