Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ludlow Castle

c.1829–30

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

Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 356 x 510 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25171
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 49

Catalogue entry

This colour study has been described by Eric Shanes as an ‘underlying colour structure’1 for the watercolour Ludlow Castle of about 1829–30 (private collection),2 engraved in 1831 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T04568, T04569). Turner made a pencil drawing of the Shropshire castle, seen from the north-east across the River Teme, in the 1798 Hereford Court sketchbook (Tate D01317; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 63), and there is a muted, quite detailed colour study made soon afterwards (Tate D01911; Turner Bequest XLIV i).
Here, by contrast, the fundamentals of the composition are reduced to a cluster of towers towards the top left with the suggestion of reflective water below, and generic trees on the right, which correspond with the rather Italianate ones in the England and Wales watercolour. Another Ludlow colour study, with less mannered trees, is Tate D25177 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 55).
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
1
Shanes 1997, p.27; see also pp.95, 104.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.396 no.825.
Technical notes:
Eric Shanes notes that the paper is the ‘same’ as for the colour studies Tate D25165, D25167–D25170, D25184 and D25208 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 43, 45–48, 62, 86).1 The ‘Ruse & Turners’ watermark was current from 1805 to the 1840s, representing various permutations of partners (Richard Turner and Mr Letts by 1828) producing paper at Upper Tovil Mill, Maidstone, Kent.2
1
Shanes 1997, p.98.
2
See Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, p.87.
Verso:
Blank, save for inscriptions: stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘CCLXIII – 49’ bottom left; and in pencil ‘AB 92 P’ and ‘CCLXIII.49’ bottom right.
The ‘AB’ number corresponds with the endorsement on one of the parcels of works sorted by John Ruskin during his survey of the Turner Bequest, in this case classified by him as ‘Colour effects. Valueless’.1

Matthew Imms
March 2013

1
Transcribed in Finberg 1909, II, p.814.

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