J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Caernarvon Castle with Sailing Boats; Sunset c.1798-9

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 42 Verso:
Caernarvon Castle with Sailing Boats; Sunset c.1798–9
Turner Bequest XLIII 41a
Watercolour and gouache on blue laid paper prepared with a red-brown ground, 140 x 216 mm
Stamped in black ‘XLIII – 41a’ bottom right, ascending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
In this study for a composition of Caernarvon Castle the building is farther from the viewer than in that on folio 40 verso (Tate D01856; Turner Bequest XLIII 39a); compare the series of composition studies in the contemporary Dolbadarn sketchbook, including Tate D02069 and D02071 (Turner Bequest XLVI 49a, 50a).
With the page turned horizontally, the general layout is closer to the composition of the Picturesque Views in England and Wales watercolour of about 1832 (British Museum, London),1 engraved in 1835 (Tate impressions: T04603, T06112). There the atmospheric effect is of a warm summer evening just after sunset, and a crescent moon rises beyond the castle. In this summary study, Turner may have intended to represent moonlight; that seems to be the case in the very similar studies on folios 43 verso, 44 verso and 45 verso (D01862, D01864, D01866; Turner Bequest XLIII 42a, 43a, 44a).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.400 no.857, pl.196.

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Caernarvon Castle with Sailing Boats; Sunset c.1798–9 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-caernarvon-castle-with-sailing-boats-sunset-r1174060, accessed 13 August 2020.