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

Watercolours and Studies Relating to the Welsh and Marches Tours 1793–4

Turner Bequest XIII A, D–F, H a, H b, XIV A, XXIII A, B, f, XXVII R, X
Turner’s tour of 1793 took him to many of the places he had visited the previous year, notably to Malvern, Hereford and the Wye valley. For the 1792 tour see the introduction to the grouping of drawings and watercolours connected with the two tours.
His drawings of this time show a further development from the exploratory work of 1792 – still inspired by P.J. de Loutherbourg (1740–1812) – with a more distinctive personal mannerism in the handling of formulas for foliage, masonry and so on, in which a new influence, that of Canaletto (1797–1768), is detectable. He may have absorbed this from work he encountered in the collection of the alienist Dr Thomas Monro (1750–1833) with whom he was in contact by this year, presumably as a consequence of his mother’s mental instability. Stylistically, an intermediary may have been the Academician Joseph Farington (1747–1821), whose topographical drawings are often couched in a strongly Canalettesque idiom.
In the following years Turner was to execute large numbers of drawings under the aegis of Monro; see the subsequent ‘Monro School’ works in the present catalogue. The subjects gathered on this second visit to the Welsh Marches provided material for further achievements in ambitious topography, and he seems to have been particularly successful with his stormy view of Llanthony Abbey, of which he made several versions, presumably in response to public demand (see Tate D00679; Turner Bequest XXVII R); and with various views of the ruins of Tintern Abbey, a highly popular Picturesque subject thanks to the effusions of the Rev. William Gilpin (1724–1804) in his widely disseminated Observations on the River Wye, first published in 1782 (see Tate D00374; Turner Bequest XXIII A).

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Watercolours and Studies Relating to the Welsh and Marches Tours 1793–4’, subset, 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/watercolours-and-studies-relating-to-the-welsh-and-marches-tours-r1141164, accessed 18 December 2014.