Joseph Mallord William Turner

Warkworth Castle from the North

1797

View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 210 x 270 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D00947
Turner Bequest XXXIV 40

Catalogue entry

With the page turned horizontally, Turner shows the castle on a high bank above a bend of the River Coquet. The village and its church, dedicated to St Lawrence, are seen beyond. In the foreground are women carrying baskets on their heads, possibly containing salmon, for which Warkworth was famous. A finished watercolour of this subject was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1799 with the title Warkworth Castle, Northumberland – thunder storm approaching at sun-set (Victoria and Albert Museum, London).1 The salmon fishing motif is elaborated here, with salmon netters in a boat on the river.
Hill has suggested that the thunderstorm is a memory of the one that hypothetically drove Turner into the castle keep to make the interior study on folio 41 recto (D00946; Turner Bequest XXXIV 39). The watercolour was mezzotinted in 1826 for the Rivers of England (Tate impression: T04812),2 an unusual case of a subject borrowed from a much earlier tour, rather than drawn specifically for the Rivers project.
1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.328 no.256, reproduced.
2
See ibid., p.386 no.742, probably a spurious entry as noted p.328 under no.256.
Verso:
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
January 2013

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