Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Cader Idris: A Mountain Torrent, with Trees and Distant Peaks


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 332 × 229 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXVIII 32

Catalogue entry

Turner devoted several pages of this book to drawing Cader Idris both from close to and from various distant points in the surrounding landscape; see the rectos of folios 42–45, 51, 53, 54 (D01282, D01283, D01324, D01339, D01288, D01289, D01393; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 30, 31, 70, 85, 36, 37, 38). These, and possibly others, together with two large finished watercolours (currently untraced),1 are evidence of the strong effect that the mountain had on his imagination. Although he was to encounter higher peaks farther north, he seems to have regarded Cader with special affection as the first substantial mountain that he had experienced. It is not certain that this detail of a stream tumbling down a steep hillside shows Cader, but it seems likely that this is the case, especially if the sheet is correctly bound in at this place.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.328 nos.259, reproduced, 260.
Technical notes:
There are smears of colour from another leaf, perhaps folio 45 recto (D01339; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 85), unwittingly moved obliquely over the present page while the watercolour was applied.
There is a slight pencil outline of a mountain, inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘line of Cader Idris’; separately noted are ‘Dolaucau’ (Finberg gives ‘Dolancon’) and ‘Dolyddycase’ (Finberg gives ‘Dolyddylan’);1 stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.
Compare the verso of folio 49 (D01287; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 35). The names are presumably those of farms or hamlets in the neighbourhood of Cader Idris.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Finberg 1909, I, p.85.

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