Joseph Mallord William Turner

Carreg Cennen: View from the Castle Walls


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 229 × 332 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXVIII 87

Catalogue entry

Finberg guessed that this might be a view of Harlech Castle, but Carreg Cennen seems correct. The existing structure, massive and dramatically placed on an isolated rock, dates from the mid or late thirteenth century. Only a corner of the castle walls is visible in this drawing, made with the page turned horizontally; the subject is the vertiginous space between the fortress and its ring of surrounding hills. Its situation is made clear in the other drawings of Carreg Cennen in this book, on the rectos of folios 24–27 and 32 (D01267–D01270, D01331; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 17, 18, 19, 20, 77); see also the Dynevor Castle sketchbook (Tate D01526–D01527, D01529–D01530; Turner Bequest XL 37a–38, 39a–40). The addition of a flash of lightning marks Turner’s growing sense of the interconnection of natural and man-made sublimity in the context of his personal discovery of Wales. His use of a grey ground and elaborate stopping-out anticipates the technique of some of the large studies executed in the following year (see the sub-section of this catalogue comprising separate sheets relating to the Welsh tour of 1799).
Blank; inscribed in red ink ‘98’; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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