Joseph Mallord William Turner

Shields Lighthouse


On loan

Musée Jacquemart-André (Paris, France): Turner Watercolours

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 234 × 283 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 308

Technique and condition

There is no drawing in this colour study on white wove paper. Dark washes of Prussian blue were stippled onto dry paper for the sky, washed over with purplish-toned brown ochre to create greyer tones. The lighter blue washes in Prussian blue were applied to wetter paper. Washing-out was used for the moon and its reflection, leaving sufficient cleared white paper for the yellow radiance round the moon to be applied in chrome yellow, without the danger that it would overlap with a blue wash and appear green, not yellow. Vermilion mixed with Prussian blue was used for the most crimson clouds.
The sheet has been displayed with the outer edges coved by a window mount, and the central area has yellowed irreversibly. The colour trials on the outer edges were protected by the mount, and retain their original blue, whereas the main image now appears greener than intended.

Joyce Townsend
March 2011

Catalogue entry


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