Joseph Mallord William Turner

North Lodge, Witton Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 232 × 328 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLVI 2

Catalogue entry

Turner shows the south side of North Lodge, at the north-west corner of the Witton Castle estate. Linburn Beck, flowing over the shallow waterfall in the foreground, passes under the bridge carrying the drive to the castle to join the River Wear beyond the tower. The immediate area is now heavily wooded, obscuring this view. The stone lodge survives as a private house; it is thought to date from about 1810,1 a few years before Turner’s visit, echoing the austere architecture of the medieval castle it served. The narrow opening on the first floor has since been enlarged as a two-light mullioned window.
There are drawings of Witton Castle itself and nearby Witton-le-Wear in the Durham, North Shore sketchbook used on the same tour (Tate D12337–D12344; Turner Bequest CLVII 16a–21), where Linburn Beck appears again on D12343 (CLVII 20).
‘North Lodge to Witton Castle; Listed building (Evenwood)’, Keys to the Past, accessed 1 February 2010,
Technical notes:
The stream, banks and bridge have been worked up in watercolour, leaving the hill crowned by the lodge and trees in pencil outline only. The rocky bank on the left is relatively finished, but the washes peter out in the middle distance towards the right. Browns and greys have been applied wet-on-wet in the right foreground. This is the only use of watercolour in either of the sketchbooks from this tour, except for the localised tinting of foliage and the castle in the view of Raby on folios 21 recto–20 verso (D12300, D12301; CLVI 23a–24).
The care taken in defining the reflections and the sparkling flow of the waterfall suggests that at least some of the colour may have been applied at the scene. It was presumably selected for early exhibition as a technical demonstration of work in progress.
Blank, save for inscription by John Ruskin in red ink ‘551’ bottom left and inscription in pencil ‘CLVI. 2’ towards bottom right. There are glue stains at the corners from previous mounting.

Matthew Imms
February 2010

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