Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dolbadarn Castle: Colour Study


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 670 x 980 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXX O

Display caption

Turner produced many studies of Dolbadarn Castle and its surroundings both during and after his excursion of 1799. He had, however, first seen and drawn the subject during his Welsh tour of the previous year. This study was produced in the wake of the earlier visit, anticipating the scale and atmosphere of the later Welsh works.

Gallery label, November 1999

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Technique and condition

Catalogue entry

This striking study, notable for its experimental bravura, is probably based on a drawing in the 1798 North Wales sketchbook (Tate D01388; Turner Bequest XXXIX 33). It and two other large studies (Tate D01115, D04187; XXXVI U, LXX j), executed in a similar palette, perhaps belong to 1798–9 rather than 1799–1800.
Technical notes:
The exact composition of the gluey paste used with the brown pigment has not been fully described, though Peter Bower suggests that it is a clay-based natural earth. He also says that the stopping-out that is so conspicuous a feature of this and the other two drawings in this group, was achieved by applying washes of gelatine, later removed with warm water. Bower speculates that the paper is Whatman, made by Balston and the Hollingworth Brothers at Turkey Mill, Kent.1
See Bower 1990, p.71.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Read full Catalogue entry


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