Joseph Mallord William Turner Parnassus and Castalian Spring (Delphi) engraved 1833

Artwork details

Artist
Title
Parnassus and Castalian Spring (Delphi)
Date Engraved 1833
Medium Watercolour and gouache on paper
Dimensions Support: 184 x 140 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Bequeathed by Beresford Rimington Heaton 1940
Reference
N05238
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

Engraved by Edward Finden, this design first appeared as the frontispiece-vignette to vol.XIV of the 'Life and Works' of Byron. Turner's working drawing was supplied by William Page. The subject introduces a passage in 'The Island', where the narrator reflects on his experiences of North and South, where he had 'revered Parnassus' and mingled 'Highland Linns with Castalie's clear fount'. The scene is Delphi (not yet excavated), with the village of Castri on the slopes of Parnassus; the Castalian stream descends from caverns in the mountain. Turner's vignette beautifully combines the everyday activities of modern Greece with echoes of antiquity and mythology, and evokes through mist and water the eternal energies of nature.

August 2004

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