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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Looking down on Conway Castle, from the South-East c.1799-1800

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Looking down on Conway Castle, from the South-East c.1799–1800
Turner Bequest LX a K
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 550 x 770 mm
Watermark ‘J Whatman 1794’
Inscribed by Turner in brown ink ‘52’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘LX (a) – K’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is one of the sequence of North Welsh studies bearing Turner’s numbering; this subject is however perhaps a preparation for a composition similar to the 1800 watercolour Caernarvon Castle (Tate D04164; Turner Bequest LXX M), rather than a study on the spot like the majority of the rest: this is a carefully considered ‘topographical view’ rather than an observation made on the spot. Having originally identified it as Cockermouth Castle,1 Finberg recognised its true subject2 and considered it a ‘Very fine beginning not painted from nature’.3 Several watercolours of Conway dating from the close of the century are known,4 as well as a large oil painting (private collection );5 none of these duplicates the composition of this study.
Finberg 1909, I, p.163.
A.J. Finberg (died 1939), undated MS note in an interleaved copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.163.
MS note ibid., opposite p.163.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, pp.329 – 30, nos.268 – 272 (various collections, some reproduced).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.107–8 no.141, pl.146 (colour).
Technical notes:
There are colour trials in the left margin.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Looking down on Conway Castle, from the South-East c.1799–1800 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 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-looking-down-on-conway-castle-from-the-south-east-r1180066, accessed 18 January 2022.