Joseph Mallord William Turner

Valle Crucis Abbey, with Dinas Brân

1794–5

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 460 x 375 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D00703
Turner Bequest XXVIII R

Technique and condition

In this composition on white wove Whatman paper most of the colours have been applied directly to the paper without the aid of an under-drawing, although the figure and the pigs were lightly sketched in graphite pencil at an early stage. This allowed reserves of white paper to be preserved to act later as lights in these areas. The paint was applied to very wet paper in the sky area, though further down it was applied to drier paper to give harder edges to the composition. This is a dark image utilising multiple dense washes for the middle ground, but fewer and thinner washes in the foreground, to create quite intense light/dark contrasts with a fairly limited palette of colours and some washing out for highlights.
Pigments used include: indigo, a brownish red madder lake, Mars orange, yellow ochre, mars orange is a synthetic ochre colour in a brilliant orange shade, used very extensively by Turner throughout his life, in both watercolour and oil medium.

Helen Evans
October 2008

Revised by Joyce Townsend
May 2011

Catalogue entry

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