Joseph Mallord William Turner

Colchester Castle

c.1824

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 115 × 118 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D18186
Turner Bequest CCIX 16

Catalogue entry

This study shows the Castle at Colchester in Essex, with its imposing Norman keep at centre. Constructed in 1076, the castle was reinforced by William I who wished to profit from the city’s strategic location between the North Sea coast and London.1 William’s builders plundered the ancient Roman edifices of Colchester for masonry and incorporated the existing foundations of the Temple of Claudius into the castle.2 See also Tate D18169; Turner Bequest CCIX 6a and the finished watercolour of Colchester in the collection of the Courtauld Institute Gallery, London (see Tate impressions T04511–T04512).3
Turner has rendered this study with the sketchbook turned upside down.

Alice Rylance-Watson
January 2015

1
‘History’, Colchester and Ipswich Museums, accessed 6 January 2015, http://www.cimuseums.org.uk/article/10838/History
2
Ibid.
3
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.392 no.789.

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