Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant View of Penrhyn Castle from the South


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 130 × 79 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XLVI 16 a

Catalogue entry

Iinverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the drawing is continued on folio 17 recto opposite (D02018). Penrhyn, just outside Bangor, was the seat of Thomas Pennant, Lord Penrhyn, whose family owned much of the slate mining in North Wales, and were also involved in sugar plantations in the West Indies. There are details of the building above the main view on the present page. The house shown in Turner’s drawing is that designed by Samuel Wyatt (1737–1807), which was to be replaced in the 1820s by a more grandiose building in exaggerated ‘Norman’ style by Thomas Hopper (1776–1856).
Turner may have been commissioned to make a view of the house by Wyatt, but this does not seem to have materialized. He did, however, make watercolour views of two other, smaller Pennant properties in the area: The Penrhyn Arms at Port Penrhyn (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)1 and Lime Grove House, near Bangor (Fogg Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts),2 both buildings designed by Samuel Wyatt. A drawing of Lime Grove is on folios 17 verso–18 recto (D02019–D02020). Turner’s connection with Penrhyn and the Wyatts has been discussed by art historian Susan Morris.3

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Not in Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979.
Ibid., p.337 no.328, reproduced, as ‘A mansion in wooded grounds’, c.1798.
See Susan Morris, ‘“Two Perspective Views”, Turner and Lewis William Wyatt’, Turner Studies, vol.2, no.2, Winter 1983, pp.34–6

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