Joseph Mallord William Turner

Arundel Castle, on the River Arun


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 159 × 228 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCVIII G

Catalogue entry

Andrew Wilton has proposed that pencil studies for this view of Arundel Park are from Turner’s Brighton and Arundel sketchbook of about 1824 (Tate D18431, D18432; Turner Bequest CCX 69a, 70).1 Turner visited Arundel sometime between 1823 and 1824, using this sketchbook to make studies and notes for this and his other view of the Castle and Park (Tate D18139; Turner Bequest CCVIII F) and for his Kirkstall Abbey and Kirkstall Lock subjects in the Rivers of England series (Tate D18145, D18146; Turner Bequest CCVIII L, M).
In this drawing of Arundel Park after rainfall Turner depicts, on the extreme left, the town of Littlehampton with Martello towers sited at intervals along the coast. The valley is bisected by the sibilant trajectory of the River Arun running towards the sea. The Post mill, conspicuous in Turner’s view of Arundel Castle with a rainbow, is seen hazily in the distance on the periphery of a meander. The castle can be seen in the middle distance on the crest of a promontory overlooking the valley. The foliage is lush and richly textured, rendered in a range of tertiary colours heightened with a little violet. Ian Warrell writes that ‘As in other watercolours made for the Rivers of England, it is the weather conditions that dominate [this] design. They provide the dramatic veracity of a moment captured, with the feathery lines of fine rain clouds seen moving along the coast, throwing parts of the landscape into shadow amid the returning sunshine’.2
This drawing was engraved in mezzotint by George Henry Phillips and was published in 1827 (Tate impression T04815).

Alice Rylance-Watson
March 2013

Andrew Wilton, Turner in the British Museum: Drawings and Watercolours, Department of Prints and Drawings, British Museum, London 1975, no.86.
Warrell 1991, p.33 no.14.

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