Joseph Mallord William TurnerThe West and North Fronts of Middleham Castle 1816

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Artwork details

Artist
Title
The West and North Fronts of Middleham Castle
From Yorkshire 1 Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CXLIV
Date 1816
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 97 x 154 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D10964
Turner Bequest CXLIV 52 a
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 52 Verso:
The West and North Fronts of Middleham Castle 1816
D10964
Turner Bequest CXLIV 52a
Pencil on white wove paper, 97 x 154 mm
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The top and bottom drawings here record, respectively, the west and north fronts of Middleham Castle. Both drawings are more than a little impressionistic with regard to architectural form. This is true of small details such as window openings and doors but also of towers and indeed the whole proportion of the building. The right tower on the north front is not round as Turner seems to suggest, but more surprisingly the proportions of the towers and the whole elevation are completely mistaken. These inaccuracies are so glaring as to require some explanation. It is possible that Turner could not get a clear view of either aspect, since the castle is hemmed in on these sides by dwelling houses, and was forced to make up the form from intermittent glimpses.
For Middleham in this sketchbook see folio 47 verso (D10954).

David Hill
January 2009

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