ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum (Aarhus, Denmark): Turner Watercolours: Sun is God
Although placed without further comment after about 1830 by Finberg,1 this work is dated here in line with the period of the ‘Little Liber’ series, by comparison with the light tones and dynamic, loose handling of one of the canonical watercolour designs, Ship in a Storm (Tate D25432; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 309a). Compare also Tate D25339 and D35926 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 217, CCCLXIV 83) in the present subsection. The slight lifting of the grey wash at the left here in a zig-zag form may indicate that Turner was thinking of introducing lightning to emphasise the stormy, unsettled mood.
See also the breezy seascape Tate D36317 (Turner Bequest CCCLXV 27a) in a similar mode, still attached above the present work as discussed in the technical notes here.
Finberg 1909, II, p.1213.
A small loss, extending about 7 mm each way at the bottom left corner, has been made good with similar paper.
Although stamped, measured and imaged as a separate work, this is the lower half of a once-folded vertical sheet shared with Tate D36317 (Turner Bequest CCCLXV 27a), another horizontal landscape. Their overall size is approximately 483 x 304 mm. The fold is evident as a darkened horizontal line between them. The division is fairly neat except where the wash at the top right of this composition extends slightly onto the bottom right of the other, suggesting that the sheet was worked on unfolded at least for part of the time.
As Ian Warrell has noted:
Many of the sheets of paper in the Turner Bequest were trimmed or cut down after they became national property in order that they could be mounted and shown to the public. This policy sometimes meant that groups of studies which Turner had made on one sheet, as part of the same creative process, were separated. Happily, this piece of paper still gives some idea of how Turner worked on several complementary subjects at the same time.1
Warrell 2007, p.110.