Joseph Mallord William Turner

Dunstanburgh Castle: The Lilburn Tower with the Sea Beyond


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 210 × 270 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXIV 46 a

Display caption

Turner incised the leather cover of this book with a list of the areas he had covered on his tour: 'Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland, Tweedale, Scotld, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire'. The subjects recorded in this book were chiefly architectural in character, in contrast with the lakeland landscapes in the larger book. Of the existing ninety-five pages, only eight subjects are treated in colour. A list inside the front cover reveals that in the months following the tour Turner collected commissions for nine watercolours from five different collectors. However, over the next fifty years, he returned to the book repeatedly in order to produce more than thirty works, in watercolour and oil, based on this material.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

The subject is drawn with the page turned horizontally. Turner made a rapid colour note of the Lilburn Tower from almost the same viewpoint in his Wilson sketchbook (Tate D01211–D01212; Turner Bequest XXXVII 94–95), which was in use about the time of his North of England tour and may have been brought with him. This is a more detailed account of the subject, though it is similarly concerned to render the brooding, romantic atmosphere of the spot. He may have returned to Dunstanburgh in 1799 and made further rapid sketches of both Dunstanburgh and Bamburgh in his Dynevor Castle sketchbook (Tate D01599–D01600, D01603–D01604; Turner Bequest XL 80a–81, 82a–83).
Technical notes:
The page is discoloured from prolonged display.
Blank; inscribed by John Ruskin in pen and brown ink ‘127’; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram; inscribed in pencil ‘XXXIV. | [?page ...] | E7. XXXIV – 46A’.

Andrew Wilton
January 2013

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