Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Valley of the Glaslyn near Beddgelert, with Dinas Emrys


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 556 × 765 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LX a B

Display caption

Girtin had exhibited a large view of the Glaslyn valley, to much critical acclaim, at the Royal Academy in the summer of 1799. This painting, as Turner probably knew, was based on a watercolour sketch made on the spot during the previous year. Although Turner himself never produced a finished painting of this subject it can be no coincidence that the following three sketches represent variants of Girtin's view. That Turner sometimes folded his North Wales sketches while still wet is particularly evident on this example; paint has run down the middle fold and left impressions on the opposite side of the sheet.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

This view is based on a drawing in the contemporary Dolbadarn sketchbook (Tate D02151; Turner Bequest XLVI 106), which is annotated by Turner ‘Snowdon | from Beddgelert’.
The sheet is inadvertently recorded twice in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory, being listed also as Turner Bequest XXXVI K;1 a corresponding Tate accession number (D01105) was assigned and subsequently cancelled.
Finberg 1909, I, p.78, as ‘Skiddaw from Derwentwater’, c.1797.
Technical notes:
There are traces of a vertical centre fold. The sheet is creased and mould-stained; its condition may be owing to the Tate Gallery flood of 1928, but it is possible that some of the damage occurred in the studio. Although the large sheets in the present subsection all have a centre fold, caused by the method of drying over a rope at the paper mill, the central crease in this case seems to have been inflicted by accident. This may be the reason why Turner made a second version of the subject, which he took to a somewhat higher state of finish (Tate D04178; Turner Bequest LXX a).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Read full Catalogue entry

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