Joseph Mallord William Turner

Composition Study: Shipping near Caernarvon Castle

c.1799

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Ink and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 135 × 210 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D04102
Turner Bequest LXIX 88

Catalogue entry

When it was catalogued for the 1984 exhibition Turner in Wales this drawing, made with the page turned horizontally, was identified as a study for the two large watercolours of Pembroke Castle shown in 1801 and 1806 (National Museum Wales, Cardiff; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto),1 as Finberg had suggested.2 It seems however to be a very generalised view of Caernarvon Castle, with the Eagle Tower. Compare the monochrome studies of Caernarvon in the Dolbadarn sketchbook (Tate D02069, D02071, D02072, D02074; Turner Bequest XLVI 49a, 50a, 51, 52).
In the event, this composition was adopted for the Pembroke subjects, while Caernarvon Castle became the subject of two contrasted watercolours, one the distant view with a Bard and his audience, exhibited in 1800 (Tate D04164; Turner Bequest LXX M),3 the other a sunset view, shown in 1799 (private collection).4
1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.331 nos.280, 281, the latter reproduced.
2
See Finberg 1909, I, p.172, and Wilton 1984, p.70.
3
Wilton 1979, p.329 no.263, pl.52.
4
Ibid., p.328 no.254, pl.47 (colour).
Verso:
Blank

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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