Joseph Mallord William Turner

View from the Top of Craig y Foel


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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 210 x 274 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XII J

Catalogue entry

The inscription perhaps identifies the subject as a view at Craig y Foel, near Rhaiadr (compare the small watercolour of 1792, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford);1 but there are similarities with the subject of Tate D00368 (Turner Bequest XXII O), not only in the dominating rock but in the apparent presence of buildings, in this case two high towers and a gabled structure, in the valley beyond. However, the distant view may be unrelated to the study of the hilltop.
The colouring, which has affinities with work in the South Wales sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest XXVI), may be rather later than the drawing. Finberg, who catalogued this as the verso of the sheet, suggested that the viewpoint was the ‘hill opposite Crickhowell, looking across the Usk’.2 The idea probably derived from his belief that the drawing on the verso (D40038) shows Crickhowell church, which is not the case.
There is a strip of colour trials along the left-hand edge of the sheet.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.303 no.29, reproduced.
MS note, Tate catalogue files.

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