Joseph Mallord William Turner

View in Wales: Mountain Scene with Village and Castle - Evening

c.1799–1800

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions
Support: 581 x 727 x 20 mm
frame: 822 x 972 x 140 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
N00466

Not on display

Display caption

The tours Turner made to Wales in the 1790s were formative experiences, encompassing mountain scenery and picturesque ruins. By the end of the decade he had become an admirer of the Welsh artist Richard Wilson (1713–1782), who recorded his native landscape with a classical restraint. Turner even travelled to the earlier artist’s birthplace at Penegoes in Montgomeryshire. This work was painted at that time, but not exhibited. It may have been developed as an exercise in the manner of Wilson. Or perhaps Turner hoped to find a buyer among the amateurs who came to him for drawing or painting lessons.

Gallery label, February 2016

Catalogue entry

29. [N00466] View in Wales: Mountain Scene with Village and Castle—Evening c. 1799–1800

THE TATE GALLERY, LONDON (466)
Canvas, 22 7/8 × 28 5/8 (58 ×72·5)
Coll. Turner Bequest 1856 (? 93, ‘Welsh Castle’ 2'4 1/4" × 1'1 1/2"); transferred to the Tate Gallery 1929.

Exh. Newcastle 1912 (54); Newcastle 1924 (158); Tate Gallery 1931 (8); Welsh Landscape in British Art Arts Council Welsh tour, August 1947–February 1948 (41); Cardiff 1951; Arts Council tour 1952 (1); Brighton 1957 (32); Swansea 1964 (155); Milan 1975 (148, repr.); Llandudno and Swansea 1984 (69, repr.).

Lit. Ruskin 1857 (1903–12, xiii, pp. 102–3); Armstrong 1902, p. 236; MacColl 1920, p. 3; Davies 1946, p. 187.

One of a group of small Wilsonian canvas of the late 1790s and more conventionally Wilsonian in composition than No. 31 [N00475]. The identification with Wales dates back to the painting entering the National Gallery, if not to the Inventory of the Turner Bequest, though the exact site cannot be located; nor are there any directly comparable drawings. On the other hand, Andrew Wilton has suggested a more direct influence from Wilson: the skyline and tower are very close to the right-hand side of Wilson's Landscape with Bathers, Cattle and Ruin, N01290 in the Tate Gallery (another version, in the Huntington Art Gallery, San Marino, is repr. W.G. Constable, Richard Wilson 1953, pl. 99b). Turner copied this, or another version of the composition, in a watercolour in the Turner Bequest (XXXIII-I).

Comparison with Turner's paintings of Kilgarran Castle (see No. 11) and discussions with Andrew Wilton have led to a slightly later dating for this picture than that of c. 1798 given in the first edition of this catalogue. Wilton (exh. cat. 1984) suggests that the picture shows a scene on the Wye.


Published in:
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984

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