Joseph Mallord William Turner

Witton Castle, with Witton Tower, Witton-le-Wear, across the Wear Valley Beyond

1817

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 116 x 185 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D12339
Turner Bequest CLVII 17 a

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint is the hillside east of Witton Castle, looking north-west across the Wear Valley to Witton-le-Wear. The castle itself appears on folio 18 recto opposite (D12340) in this double-page drawing, and there is a further continuation onto folio 19 recto (D12341).
The sketch only extends about half way across the present page. Beyond the tree at the centre is Witton-le-Wear’s small parish church of St Philip and St James, from where the main street runs west up to Witton Tower towards the left. This medieval tower, with various later additions and alterations,1 was the home of Newb(e)y Lowson, Turner’s travelling companion on his first Continental tour in 1802. It is not known whether Turner was in contact with Lowson in 1817, but his sketching of Witton Tower might suggest so, and his surname is included elsewhere in what seems to be a list of commissions in hand soon afterwards (see the introduction to the present tour). The village and tower are shown again in the sketch on folios 19 verso, 20 recto and 21 recto (D12342–D12344).

Matthew Imms
February 2010

1
‘Witton-le-Wear, Witton Tower; Medieval tower house. (Witton-le-Wear)’, Keys to the Past, accessed 2 February 2010, http://www.keystothepast.info/durhamcc/K2P.nsf/K2PDetail?readform&PRN=D1763.

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