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This is one of the sequence of North Welsh studies bearing Turner’s numbering; this subject is however perhaps a preparation for a composition similar to the 1800 watercolour Caernarvon Castle (Tate D04164; Turner Bequest LXX M), rather than a study on the spot like the majority of the rest: this is a carefully considered ‘topographical view’ rather than an observation made on the spot. Having originally identified it as Cockermouth Castle,1 Finberg recognised its true subject2 and considered it a ‘Very fine beginning not painted from nature’.3 Several watercolours of Conway dating from the close of the century are known,4 as well as a large oil painting (private collection );5 none of these duplicates the composition of this study.
Finberg 1909, I, p.163.
A.J. Finberg (died 1939), undated MS note in an interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.163.
MS note ibid., opposite p.163.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, pp.329 – 30, nos.268 – 272 (various collections, some reproduced).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.107–8 no.141, pl.146 (colour).
There are colour trials in the left margin.