The boldly isolated pyramidal silhouette of this splendidly sombre mountain mass is reminiscent of Moel Hebog, as seen from Beddgellert, which lies at its foot to the east. That seems the most likely identification of the subject. As a study of a mountainside in deep shadow, it can be compared with the two large finished watercolours of Cader Idris (currently untraced).1 See also two watercolour studies in the Academical sketchbook (Tate D01873, D01875; Turner Bequest XLIII 48a, 49a), and compare the drawing on folio 63 recto (D01352; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 98) in the present book.
It is possible that the view is of Cader from Dinas Mawddwy, a town to the east of the mountain which was the final point of a detour from Turner’s main route north. Like the moonlight scene at Beddgelert, folio 64 recto (D01346; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 92), the page is an example of Turner extending the technical range of watercolour as a medium for recording things seen on tour, in an attempt to capture the mood as well as the appearance of the scene.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.328 nos.259, reproduced, 260.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.