Mystic Seaport Museum (Mystic, USA): Turner Watercolours
Technique and condition
This pencil and watercolour composition is on white wove paper. Vague initial sketching in graphite pencil is visible. A mixture of pigments has been used to create the greens and browns in the foreground of this picture. The trees in the distance consist of a yellow transparent wash applied over a blue wash. The pigments used include Mars orange, Mars red, yellow ochre and brown earth pigments, all mixed as needed with Prussian blue, and probably some indigo in the sky. The latter blue, if used on the left aide of the sky, has faded somewhat, to an extent that cannot be determined, since this sheet has not been displayed with a window mount that would have protected the outer edges from fading. Mars pigments are manufactured earth pigments with brighter colours than the natural products.
This right-hand page has one of the most elaborate, carefully wrought watercolours from this sketchbook, raising the question of whether it was painted on the spot or in the studio over a pencil sketch made from the motif. Spender represents the latter view.1 On the other hand Hill, while comparing it to the more spontaneous ‘bravura’ of watercolours in the contemporary Hesperides (1) sketchbook (for example another view of Kew Bridge, Tate D05833; Turner Bequest XCIII 38a), notes that it also contains fleeting ‘real time’ effects such as shadow passing across the right-hand arches of the bridge and that the unfinished foreground looks as if it ‘was left off because there was insufficient time to complete it’. Hill considers there are ‘clear suggestions of its having been painted from nature’.2
Finberg says this leaf was exhibited as no.52 in the Third Loan Collection but Warrell gives it as no.150, noting that it had been withdrawn by 1909.
Blank, but with numerous watercolour trials.
- townscapes / man-made features(21,710)
- townscape, distant(8,119)