Joseph Mallord William Turner

Parnassus and Castalian Spring (Delphi)

engraved 1833

On loan

ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (Aarhus, Denmark): Turner Watercolours: Sun is God

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour and gouache on paper
Support: 256 × 205 mm
Bequeathed by Beresford Rimington Heaton 1940

Display caption

Engraved by Edward Finden, this design first appeared as the frontispiece-vignette to vol.XIV of the 'Life and Works' of Byron. Turner's working drawing was supplied by William Page. The subject introduces a passage in 'The Island', where the narrator reflects on his experiences of North and South, where he had 'revered Parnassus' and mingled 'Highland Linns with Castalie's clear fount'. The scene is Delphi (not yet excavated), with the village of Castri on the slopes of Parnassus; the Castalian stream descends from caverns in the mountain. Turner's vignette beautifully combines the everyday activities of modern Greece with echoes of antiquity and mythology, and evokes through mist and water the eternal energies of nature.

Gallery label, August 2004

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