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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

The 1799 North Wales Tour and Related Works 1799–1801

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Turner had toured extensively in South Wales in 1795, and in 1798 he had covered some of the same ground before turning north for Snowdonia, a new geographical experience that extended his technical resources and gave him material for a more ‘Sublime’ repertory of subject matter. This had only whetted his appetite and in 1799, by way of Lancashire, he came back to the mountainous region equipped with sheets of Whatman paper much larger than any he had used before, on which he made watercolour studies, apparently direct from the motif – some of the most remarkable works ever executed in the medium. They stimulated more finished studies, probably done later in London, and provided matter for several exhibited watercolours. It is clear that some of the unfinished studies are records of ideas, often extremely ambitious, for subjects that he never fully realised. Oil paintings, too, resulted from this ferment of landscape inspiration, and it was a Welsh subject, Dolbadarn Castle, North Wales that was to ...
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Lancashire and North Wales sketchbook 1799–1801
D01912–D01990, D41266–D41274
Turner Bequest XLV 1–50
Dolbadarn sketchbook 1799–1800
D01993–D02177, D40765–D40771
Turner Bequest XLVI 1–120a
D01115, D01880, D02353, D03642–D03645, D03647–D03652, D04164–D04168, D04172, D04175–D04178, D04180–D04182, D04185–D04187, D17188, D40546, D41489
Turner Bequest XXXVI U, XLIV D, L L, LX a A, B, C, D, F, G, H, I, J, K, LXX M, N, O, P, Q, U, X, Y, Z, a, c, d, e, h, i, j, CXCVI X
Turner had toured extensively in South Wales in 1795, and in 1798 he had covered some of the same ground before turning north for Snowdonia, a new geographical experience that extended his technical resources and gave him material for a more ‘Sublime’ repertory of subject matter. This had only whetted his appetite and in 1799, by way of Lancashire, he came back to the mountainous region equipped with sheets of Whatman paper much larger than any he had used before, on which he made watercolour studies, apparently direct from the motif – some of the most remarkable works ever executed in the medium. They stimulated more finished studies, probably done later in London, and provided matter for several exhibited watercolours.
It is clear that some of the unfinished studies are records of ideas, often extremely ambitious, for subjects that he never fully realised. Oil paintings, too, resulted from this ferment of landscape inspiration, and it was a Welsh subject, Dolbadarn Castle, North Wales that was to prove the inspiration for the exhibited oil painting that he presented to the Royal Academy on his election as a full Member in 1802.1
1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.9–10 no.12, pl.7 (colour).

Andrew Wilton
November 2013

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘The 1799 North Wales Tour and Related Works 1799–1801’, November 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/the-1799-north-wales-tour-and-related-works-r1177778, accessed 28 May 2018.