Dunstanburgh Castle lies on an exposed stretch of the Northumberland coast, not far from Alnwick. Although Turner seems to have explored the castle only once, it was one of the subjects he depicted most often in his career, its ruins allowing him to meditate on the contrasts between past and present. The two studies shown here acted as preliminary stages for one of the oil Turner submitted to the Royal Academy exhibition in the spring after his tour ('Dunstanborough Castle, N.E. Coast of Northumberland. Sun-Rise after a Squally Night', National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne).
Gallery label, September 2004