Joseph Mallord William Turner

Colour Study: Llanberis Lake and Snowdon


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 547 × 765 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXX e

Display caption

While the sketches Turner made outdoors record the landscape south of Snowdon, the studio work he produced subsequently focuses on sites of historic and literary resonance which lie adjacent to the mountain and to the north. This move towards high art is most apparent in his depictions of castles, and narrative subjects, exhibited elsewhere in this gallery. In the following four views, however, it is the pictorial potential of natural landscape features which is Turner's primary concern. Forsaking topographical accuracy, these studies are compelling experiments in idealised landscape painting. They embody Turner's progress beyond the conventions of tightly controlled watercolour painting, and transcend Wilson's influence in the production of powerful atmospheric effects.

Gallery label, September 2004

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