Joseph Mallord William Turner

Figures by the Water, with Ships and Buildings at Tygwyn Ferry, and Harlech Castle in the Distance


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 170 × 266 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXIX 95

Catalogue entry

This sensitive study was developed from a drawing made on the spot, perhaps on this page, as preparation for the oil painting Harlech Castle, from Twgwyn Ferry, Summer’s Evening Twilight, executed for the 5th Earl Cowper (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven). Much of the damage now apparent is no doubt a result of its use for this purpose; Turner’s note on the verso records the commission. The picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1799.1 Compare the view on folio 91 recto (D01448; Turner Bequest XXXIX 86); and see the colour study (Tate D01904; Turner Bequest XLIV b) which is partly based on this drawing.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.6–7 no. 9, pl.8 (colour).
Technical notes:
The sheet was detached and mounted separately for exhibition; its backing was removed as a result of the Tate Gallery flood of 1928. The sheet was trimmed along the top of the drawing, towards the gutter, and the top right corner torn away; both were made good before it was bound back in. The paper is stained and discoloured, apparently for the reason mentioned above.
Inscribed by Turner in pen and brown ink ‘117 Harlech | Study for Ld Cooper’s Picture’; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop