Turner’s engravers had to produce complex patterns of black line which, when printed onto white paper, could convey the impression of colour. They used many skilful techniques and tricks to ‘translate’ colours into a language based on tone. Deep colours such as blue appeared dark, whilst lighter colours such as yellow would be created using white. Mid-tones such as red might be black or white, according to the emphasis placed within Turner’s picture.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Study for Drawing of Richmond Terrace' circa 1820-30

Joseph Mallord William Turner
Study for Drawing of Richmond Terrace circa 1820-30
Watercolour on paper
support: 372 x 584 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

View the main page for this artwork

after Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Richmond Terrace, Surrey' 1838

after Joseph Mallord William Turner
Richmond Terrace, Surrey 1838
Intaglio print on paper
image: 165 x 248 mm
Purchased 1986

View the main page for this artwork

Joseph Mallord William Turner, '?Compositional, Colour and Underpainting Study for 'Crickieth Castle, North Wales'' ?1836

Joseph Mallord William Turner
?Compositional, Colour and Underpainting Study for 'Crickieth Castle, North Wales' ?1836
Watercolour, gouache and pencil on paper
support: 344 x 489 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

View the main page for this artwork

after Joseph Mallord William Turner, 'Crickieth Castle, North Wales, engraved by S. Fisher' 1837

after Joseph Mallord William Turner
Crickieth Castle, North Wales, engraved by S. Fisher 1837
Line engraving on paper
image: 165 x 241 mm
Purchased 1986

View the main page for this artwork

‘he that impresses the observation or stimulates the Associate idea of a colour individually is the great artist’ J.M.W. Turner