Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 487 × 616 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 333

Catalogue entry

As discussed in the introduction to the present section, this is one of four identified ‘colour beginnings’ for a large watercolour of Bamborough Castle (private collection)1 exhibited at the Graphic Society, London, in 1837; the others are Tate D25457, D25506 and D36321 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 334, 382, CCCLXV 30).2 Its subject was identified by Ian Warrell in the 1996 exhibition catalogue Turner in the North of England,3 although David Hill did not include it with the other three in his contemporary book Turner in the North.4
This study features fundamental elements including the castle, bright against the sky at the highest point above the cliffs, but gives no indication of the boat struggling in the waves, the rocky beach in the right foreground or the figures introduced into the finished design.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.404 no.895 as ?c.1840; see ‘Bamborough Revisited’, Turner Society News, no.107, December 2007, p.1, reproduced in colour.
See Shanes 1997, p.93, and Piggott 2008, p.17.
Warrell 1996, p.[8] no.94.
See David Hill, Turner in the North: A Tour through Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland, the Scottish Borders, the Lake District, Lancashire and Lincolnshire in the Year 1797, New Haven and London 1996, pp.78, 188, pls.112–14.
Technical notes:
There has been some lifting of the dark washes at the top left, to create zigzag highlights among the clouds.
Blank; stamped in black ‘CCLXIII – 333’ above Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII, 333’ towards top left, upside down.

Matthew Imms
November 2012

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