Joseph Mallord William Turner

Flint: Part of the Ruins of the Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 79 × 130 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XLVI 14

Catalogue entry

Finberg suggested that this study, made with the page turned horizontally, is of Flint Castle,1 which seems to be the case. The castle lies close to the Dee estuary, which is presumably the water glimpsed in the distance here. Turner would have passed through Flint on his way along the north Welsh coast between Lancashire and Caernarvon, and he noted a distant view of Flint on folio 99 recto (D02140).
Turner had already made a small watercolour view of Flint from Parkgate (untraced)2 for Walker’s Copper-Plate Magazine, published in 1797 (Tate impressions: T05899, T05900), basing it on a pencil drawing (National Museum Wales, Cardiff) made on his Midland tour of 1794. He may have contemplated a picture of Flint shortly after this tour; see the drawing in the Studies for Pictures sketchbook (Tate D04132; Turner Bequest LXIX 115).
The artist was to include a design sometimes identified as a view of Flint Castle in his Liber Studiorum series; see the entries for the watercolour study Tate D08104 (Turner Bequest CXVI C) and the tinted etching Tate D08105 (Turner Bequest CXVI D) of about 1806–7 for the plate published in 1807 (Tate impressions: A00917, A00918). Much later, he treated the subject again for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales; his watercolour of about 1834 ( National Museum Wales, Cardiff)3 was engraved in 1836 (Tate impressions: T05873, T06121).
Finberg 1909, I, p.115.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.312 no.97.
Ibid., p.401 no.868, reproduced.
Blank, washed with a pale buff ground.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Read full Catalogue entry


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