Joseph Mallord William Turner

Castle Head and Morecambe Bay from above Lindale, Cumbria


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 322 × 472 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 350

Catalogue entry

This colour study was long associated with Turner’s painting The Bay of Baiae, with Apollo and the Sibyl exhibited in 1823 following his 1819 Italian tour (Tate N00505),1 owing to fortuitous similarities in their bright blue and yellow colouring and the topography of the views. However, David Hill has correctly identified its source as an 1816 pencil sketch of the view over the village of Lindale south-east across Morecambe Bay towards Lancaster and Heynsham Head on the horizon, made in the Yorkshire 5 sketchbook (Tate D11582; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 34a); as well as the landscape, the cottage forms in the foreground are taken directly from the drawing.
Hill dated this work to about 1818, presumably in stylistic relation to the watercolours for Dr Whitaker’s History of Richmondshire which resulted from the 1816 tour;2 however, the sheet is watermarked 1825, and Eric Shanes gives 1832 as an approximate date and proposes the view as an undeveloped Picturesque Views in England and Wales subject.3 Shanes has also suggested a much rougher colour study, one of two unrelated subjects on the same sheet (Tate D25504; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 380), is a version of the present view in relation to the earlier Richmondshire project,4 although the relationship appears rather approximate.
There are other colour studies of the shallow estuaries south of the Lake District: one possibly showing Lancaster Sands (Tate D25132; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 10); Duddon Sands (Tate D25226; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 104); and Cartmel Sands (Tate D25282; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 160).
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified but unrealised subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.139–40 no.230, pl.233 (colour).
See Hill 1984 in general.
Shanes 1997, p.96; see also p.91 note 7.1.
Ibid., p.101.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop