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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Norham Castle: Colour Study c.1798

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Norham Castle: Colour Study c.1798
Turner Bequest L B
Pencil and watercolour with stopping-out on white wove paper, 662 x 838 mm
Stamped in black ‘L – B’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is a study for the finished watercolour exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1798 (private collection),1 or perhaps for the second version of the subject (The Higgins Bedford);2 see also Tate D02344 (Turner Bequest L C). The technique in use here is similar to that of the ambitious Welsh studies of these years (compare Tate D01115; Turner Bequest XXXVI U), with prominent use of stopping-out and pencil employed only to give minimal indications of certain details.
This composition of Norham was to be used several times by Turner, in his Liber Studiorum series (see the entry for Tate D08158; Turner Bequest CXVIII D), for the Rivers of England (Tate D18148; Turner Bequest CCVIII O),3 and most famously for Norham Castle, Sunrise, a late reworking of the theme in oil, in terms of dazzling sunlight that almost obliterates the subject (Tate N01981).4 The slight pencil drawing on which it and D02344 (Turner Bequest L C) are both based is in the North of England sketchbook of 1797 (Tate D00966; Turner Bequest XXXIV 57). Turner made another rapid sketch of the same view when he revisited Norham in 1801; see the Helmsley sketchbook (Tate D02538–D02539; Turner Bequest LIII 44a–45).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.324 no.225.
Ibid., pp.324–5 no.226.
Ibid., p.385 no.736, pl.175 (colour).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.301–2 no.512, pl.514 (colour).

Andrew Wilton
January 2013

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Norham Castle: Colour Study c.1798 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-norham-castle-colour-study-r1150274, accessed 20 May 2022.