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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Tour of Wales 1798

A Lake among Mountains 1798 (from the Hereford Court sketchbook)

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The immediate spur for Turner’s comprehensive exploration of Wales in 1798 may have been a commission to make views of Anthony Bacon’s iron works at Merthyr Tydfil, shown in the Cyfarthfa sketchbook (Turner Bequest XLI). He had also been asked by Sir Richard Colt Hoare to make views of Hampton Court, the Herefordshire seat of the Earl of Essex; see in particular the Hereford Court sketchbook (Turner Bequest XXXVIII). Turner had already toured South Wales in 1795 (see the ‘Wales and Isle of Wight 1795–1800’ section of this catalogue), and made drawings at Hampton Court; see the South Wales and Small South Wales sketchbooks (Tate; Turner Bequest XXVI, XXV). His new itinerary took him along the Tywi Valley as far west as Pembroke before turning north and up the coast to Aberystwyth, then inland to Dolgellau and Cader Idris. The mountains of Snowdonia were a new geographical experience that extended his technical resources and gave him material for a more & ...
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Hereford Court Sketchbook 1798
D01247–D01326, D01328–D01333, D01335–D01355, D40575–D40576
Turner Bequest XXXVIII 1–101
North Wales Sketchbook 1798
D01356–D01400, D01402–D01460, D41254–D41260, D41433
Turner Bequest XXXIX 1–96
Dynevor Castle Sketchbook 1798
D01461–D01624, D01626–D01628, D40752, D41422–D41423, D41434–D41435, D41451–D41452
Turner Bequest XL 1–96
Cyfarthfa Sketchbook 1798
D01629–D01642, D01647–D01665, D01668–D01675
Turner Bequest XLI 1–13, 18–32, 35–42
The immediate spur for Turner’s comprehensive exploration of Wales in 1798 may have been a commission to make views of Anthony Bacon’s iron works at Merthyr Tydfil, shown in the Cyfarthfa sketchbook (Turner Bequest XLI). He had also been asked by Sir Richard Colt Hoare to make views of Hampton Court, the Herefordshire seat of the Earl of Essex; see in particular the Hereford Court sketchbook (Turner Bequest XXXVIII).
Turner had already toured South Wales in 1795 (see the ‘Wales and Isle of Wight 1795–1800’ section of this catalogue), and made drawings at Hampton Court; see the South Wales and Small South Wales sketchbooks (Tate; Turner Bequest XXVI, XXV). His new itinerary took him along the Tywi Valley as far west as Pembroke before turning north and up the coast to Aberystwyth, then inland to Dolgellau and Cader Idris. The mountains of Snowdonia were a new geographical experience that extended his technical resources and gave him material for a more ‘Sublime’ repertory of subject matter. This only whetted his appetite: he came back to the region the following year, as discussed in the relevant section.
In addition to the books addressed here, Turner also used the Swans sketchbook in the course of this tour (Tate; Turner Bequest XLII), but it is included in a subsequent section of this catalogue owing to its also containing other material.

Andrew Wilton
November 2013

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Tour of Wales 1798’, November 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/tour-of-wales-r1173868, accessed 24 April 2018.