Joseph Mallord William Turner

St Donat’s: The Watchtower Seen from the Shore, beyond Cliffs


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 291 × 455 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XLI 18

Catalogue entry

The castle, built by the Stradling family in the fourteenth century, was in disrepair in Turner’s time; it was extensively restored and rebuilt in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Its situation on a rocky promontory makes a picturesque site which Turner noted in two other drawings in this sketchbook (D01649, D01653; Turner Bequest XLI 19, 22). The latter was used as a basis for a large watercolour of the castle, executed about the turn of the century (currently untraced)1 which ignores its dramatic coastal context and gives it a pastoral setting in the idealised manner of Claude Lorrain (1604/5–1682).2
This pencil drawing was listed by Finberg as the recto of the sheet, with the coloured study on the other side (D01648; Turner Bequest XLI 18a) as the verso. Present practice is to treat the watercolour as the recto, which the blind stamp on that side suggests has long been the case.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.331 no.279, reproduced; see also Andrew Wilton, Turner in Wales, exhibition catalogue, Mostyn Art Gallery, Llandudno 1984, p.71 no.101, reproduced.
See Butlin 1975, p.48, and Wilton 1975, p.66; and in general Ian Warrell and others, Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude, exhibition catalogue, National Gallery, London 2012.

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