Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Llanstephan: Part of the Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 174 × 125 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XLII 56

Catalogue entry

The drawing is continued on folio 29 recto opposite (D01732; Turner Bequest XLII 57). Finberg was unable to decipher the inscription on that page,1 which seems to read ‘Llanstephan’, a castle Turner drew from a distance in his 1798 Hereford Court and Dynevor Castle sketchbooks (Tate D01277, D01278, D01574D01575; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 26, 27, XL 65a–66). However, the details shown in this drawing do not correspond very obviously to any features of Llanstephan; they have some elements in common with Kidwelly (Cydweli), notably the buttressed and chamfered walls at left and centre, which have parallels in the eastern wall of Kidwelly Chapel.
There is no other evidence that he took in Kidwelly on the 1798 tour, however, though he had drawn the castle there, along with those at Llanstephan and Laugharne, on his visit to South Wales in 1795. He made two watercolours of Kidwelly: one of about 1798 (private collection),2 and another of about 1832 (Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston),3 engraved in 1837 (Tate impressions: T04607, T06123) for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales. For the same publication, he made a watercolour of Laugharne Castle, Caermarthenshire in about 1831 (Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio),4 which was engraved in 1833 (Tate impressions: T06103, T06104).
Turner made no known watercolour of Llanstephan, other than a moonlight study incorporating a distant view, inspired by his 1795 visit (Tate D00689; Turner Bequest XXVIII D). Somewhat similar buttressed and chamfered walls occur in a gateway at Ewenny, which Turner certainly visited and drew on this tour; see folios 27 verso and 29 verso–30 recto (D01729, D01733–D01734; Turner Bequest XLII 54, 58–59).

Andrew Wilton
March 2013

Finberg 1909, I, p.104.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.327 no.245, reproduced.
Ibid., p.401 no.870.
Ibid., p.399 no.848, reproduced.

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