Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Avon Gorge: View towards the Bristol Channel, with Cook’s Folly

1795–6

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 307 x 483 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D00726
Turner Bequest XXIX U

Catalogue entry

It is possible that this watercolour derives from observations Turner made on his way to Wales in 1795, but he may have ‘reconstructed’ the subject making use of the drawings he had made in the Avon Gorge in 1791; see the Bristol and Malmesbury sketchbook, especially Tate D00077 (Turner Bequest VI 5a). Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) was to make a watercolour of the Avon Gorge looking towards Cook’s Folly from the Hot Wells in about 1800 (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester);1 although faded it is a notable example of the landscape Sublime, and points up the relative lack of drama in Turner’s account of the subject here.
1
Greg Smith, Peter Bower, Anne Lyles and others, Thomas Girtin: The Art of Watercolour, exhibition catalogue, Tate Britain, London 2002, reproduced p.223.
Verso:
Blank; a slight pen mark; paint smears; dirt-stained; not stamped.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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