Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Waterfall at Melincourt, Vale of Neath


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 264 × 203 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXVI 8

Catalogue entry

Melincourt, near Abergarwed, on a small river running into the River Neath above Aberdulais, probably marked the highest point of Turner’s detour from the coastal road up the Vale of Neath. It had been mentioned in the itinerary written out for him at the front of this book (D40554). This study, with its partial completion in watercolour, is notable as a virtuoso exercise in the rendering of moving water at a period when the artist was working towards his first exhibited oil painting, Fishermen at Sea (Tate T01585),1 which appeared in public the following spring, and displayed considerable mastery in this department. Other watercolours in this book, including those on folios 9 recto, 12 recto (D00561, D00564) and 21 recto (D00573; Turner Bequest XXVI 20), together with the finished view On the Coast near Tenby (private collection),2 testify to his broad concern with the problem during the Welsh tour. He was to make further studies of water on the coast of the Isle of Wight soon afterwards (see the Isle of Wight sketchbook, Tate; Turner Bequest XXIV).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.1–2 no.1, pl.1 (colour).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.318 no.170, reproduced.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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