J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin Conwy, North Wales, from the East, with Allt-Wen in the Distance c.1796

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Thomas Girtin 1775–1802
Conwy, North Wales, from the East, with Allt-Wen in the Distance c.1796
D36355
Turner Bequest CCCLXXI M
Pencil and grey and grey-blue wash on white wove paper, 277 x 392 mm
Stamped in black ‘CCCLXXI – M’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Provenance:
Probably commissioned by Dr Thomas Monro
Monro’s posthumous sale, Christie’s, London, 26–28 June and 1–2 July 1833 (day and lot number not known)
Bought by or on behalf of Turner
The pencil work is probably by Girtin. The subject was perhaps copied from a drawing by Edward Dayes (1763–1804). This sheet was not published by Finberg in his 1909 Inventory, although he later annotated his own copy,1 allocating it the Turner Bequest number given here.
Turner had not been to North Wales when he made this drawing, but he was to execute a number of views of Conwy on his first visit there in 1798; see the Hereford Court sketchbook (Tate D01303–D01308, D01336; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 50, 50a, 51, 52, 53, 54, 82). These gave rise to the large oil painting Conway Castle of about 1803 (private collection)2 and several watercolours.
The present work is listed in the 1906 Manchester and 1912 Newcastle catalogues of the Fourth Loan Collection, but not in William White’s 1896 catalogue of the initial 1891–5 showing at the Ruskin Art Museum in Sheffield.3 It was presumably introduced as an extra or replacement work at an unknown date after 1895, hence the other venues prior to 1906 are listed here only tentatively.
1
See A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.II, p.1222, Tate catalogue files.
2
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.107–8 no.141, pl.146 (colour).
3
William White, Notes on a Biographical Series of Fifty Drawings and Sketches by J.M.W. Turner, R.A., Belonging to the National Gallery Collection, London 1896.
Verso:
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram; inscribed (not by Turner or Girtin) in pencil ‘Landscape of Ruined Castle 1796’, by C.F. Bell ‘This is no M in Finberg CFB’, and in another hand ‘Conway Castle’.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Conwy, North Wales, from the East, with Allt-Wen in the Distance c.1796 by Joseph Mallord William Turner, Thomas Girtin’, 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-thomas-girtin-conwy-north-wales-from-the-east-with-allt-wen-r1141256, accessed 21 December 2014.