This is a pencil and watercolour composition on off-white wove Whatman paper. The pencil under-drawing in this image is minimal and most of the detail, such as the lettering on the tombstone, has been painted directly in watercolour. The arches have pencilled outlines, but most of the modelling for the columns has been done with a single graded wash applied carefully and locally: that is, a wash using a single colour swept out to paler tones with water. Many details are depicted by leaving reserves of white paper between the washes, as has been done for many of the building blocks. The dancers’ costumes have been depicted in very fine detail, though the faces are minimally depicted.
A very limited palette has been used for most of the subject, two shades of ochre, indigo (probably), green mixed from indigo and a yellow pigment for the foreground, with a slightly wider range of colours for the costumes. Unusually for Turner, some grey washes are made from black pigment only, in contrast to his usual practice of mixing blue and red together. Here, he has not used any pure red pigment, which means it would not have been set out on his palette ready for immediate use in a mixture.
How to cite
Helen Evans, 'Technique and Condition', October 2008, revised by Joyce Townsend, February 2011, in Andrew Wilton, ‘Llandaff: The West Front of the Cathedral 1795–6 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2012, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-llandaff-the-west-front-of-the-cathedral-r1141182, accessed 23 July 2014.