The ruins of the thirteenth-century Cistercian foundation of Valle Crucis stand on the banks of the Afon Eglwyseg, a tributary of the Dee just west of Llangollen. They had become popular in the later eighteenth century with travellers in search of picturesque sites in North Wales, and Turner had already visited them in 1794 in the course of his Midland tour; that visit had resulted in an impressive finished watercolour, which remained in his studio (Tate D00703; Turner Bequest XXVIII R).
This drawing is a more general view than the one he made then, and he used it as the basis for a design for the Picturesque Beauties of England and Wales, engraved 1828 (Tate impressions: T04527, T06078); the finished watercolour is in Manchester Art Gallery.1 Eric Shanes points to another drawing, in the Tabley No.1 sketchbook of 1808 (Tate D06842; Turner Bequest CIII 13), as the basis for this,2 but although it shows a similar view the present drawing is almost certainly Turner’s main source. There are further drawings showing the ancient Welsh fortress-palace of Dinas Brân on the rectos of folios 88–93 (D01310, D01311, D01350, D01312–D01314; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 56, 57, 96, 58, 59, 60).
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.