Joseph Mallord William Turner, ‘The Fall of Anarchy (?)’ c.1833–4
Joseph Mallord William Turner, The Fall of Anarchy (?) c.1833–4 . Tate

Room 5 in Turner Collection

Found in Turner’s Studio: Landscape and History

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Art in Found in Turner’s Studio: Landscape and History

Norham Castle, Sunrise

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Norham Castle, Sunrise
c.1845

Turner first saw Norham, bordering Scotland on the river Tweed in Northumberland, in 1797. He was at the limits of his trip to northern England, when he also visited Buttermere, seen in the painting of nearly fifty years earlier shown nearby. After that first visit he made watercolours showing the ruin at sunrise, and visits in 1801 and 1831 resulted in further views. Here, finally, is one of a series of unfinished, unexhibited paintings reworking his monochrome Liber Studiorum landscape prints. Pure colours rather than contrasting tones express the blazing light as the historic building and landscape merge.

Gallery label, February 2010

The Fall of Anarchy (?)

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Fall of Anarchy (?)
c.1833–4

Although possibly incomplete, the subject can be identified as Death, the last of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse who announce the Day of Judgement (Book of Revelation). The choice may have been in response to the death of Turner’s father in 1829, suggested by the unusual treatment which is both tender and menacing. Death appears, not as a triumphant, upright figure astride his horse, but as a phantom emerging from a turbulent mist: his skeletal form, arms outstretched, and draped submissively over the horse’s pale back. Such disturbing visions were considered to embody the very concept of the Sublime.

Gallery label, March 2010

Interior of a Great House: The Drawing Room, East Cowes Castle

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Interior of a Great House: The Drawing Room, East Cowes Castle
c.1830

The upper part is unfinished, having only transparent washes in thinned oil paint. Turner’s design developments are all in the lower portion, including a group of people around the piano, coffin or altar to the right, sketchily represented and later painted over. Near the centre, he applied emerald green and bright red vermilion in a resin-rich paint that cracked as it dried, to give a strong colour contrast. Emerald green was the first intensely green pigment Turner could obtain, and had not long been available. Previous generations and many of his own circle mixed greens from blue and yellow, to give less intense and more harmonious shades.

The dazzling light was created by using a palette knife, a brush, the brush-end, scratches from Turner’s thumb-nail (kept long for this purpose), and light blue paint to contrast with the yellow. This contrast is now muted by yellowed varnish, which suppresses blue tones.

Gallery label, February 2010

The Ponte Delle Torri, Spoleto

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Ponte Delle Torri, Spoleto
c.1840–5

Spoleto is a picturesque town in Umbria, famous for its Ponte delle Torri (Bridge of Towers), a medieval feat of engineering which spans the deep gorge to the east. Turner passed through the town on his way to Rome in 1819. As in so many of his Italian-inspired oils, he has enhanced real topography with an evocative but imagined sense of atmosphere. The composition is reworked from an earlier image known as ‘Bridge and Goats’. That etching was published in 1812 as part of the Liber Studiorum, a series of prints summing up Turner’s achievements in landscape to date.

Gallery label, February 2010

The Disembarkation of Louis-Philippe at the Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport, 8 October 1844

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
The Disembarkation of Louis-Philippe at the Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport, 8 October 1844
c.1844–5

JMW Turner 1775-1851
The Disembarkation of Louis-Philippe at Portsmouth, 8 October 1844
c.1844-5
Oil paint on canvas

Tate. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

N04660

Turner visited Portsmouth to record the arrival of the French king, who was on a State Visit. He made numerous sketches of the event and also painted two unfinished oils: one showing the king’s arrival, the other his disembarkation. Both are principally concerned with the atmosphere of the occasion, concentrating on the crowd of onlookers. Turner had met Louis-Philippe when the king was living in exile at Twickenham in the 1810s. Contact between them was renewed in the mid-1830s and he was invited to dine with him at his château at Eu in 1845.

September 2014

Gallery label, August 2014

Two Figures on a Beach with a Boat

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Two Figures on a Beach with a Boat
c.1840–5

This is from a series of oil sketches that Turner made on millboard. The series was painted late in his career. Although small boards like this one were often used by artists working directly from nature, Turner made most of his oil sketches in his studio. He worked either from pencil sketches or from memory. These works reveal how Turner used oil paint to sketch out details of land, sea and sky. In the examples shown here he also included figures within the landscape.

Gallery label, September 2018

Sunrise, a Castle on a Bay: ‘Solitude’

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Sunrise, a Castle on a Bay: ‘Solitude’
c.1840–5

In the 1840s Turner reworked in oils a number of the images he had first created for the set of mezzotints known as Liber Studiorum (1807-19). Though his Biblical or classical subjects were generally grouped in the Liber in a category defined as ‘Historical’, Turner also developed a type of refined pastoral landscape, which was conceived in the spirit of Claude Lorrain’s paintings. The mezzotint design that was the starting point for this late oil painting was one of these and deliberately paid tribute to Claude by reworking his celebrated Landscape with Psyche outside the Palace of Cupid (National Gallery).

Gallery label, February 2010

Willows beside a Stream

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Willows beside a Stream
1805

As well as making oil sketches on panel in 1805, Turner also made a series of sketches on canvas. Sometimes he worked on a boat, painting sketches on a roll of prepared canvas, which he presumably tacked in sections over a frame or board. Each subject was painted to a size approximately 3 by 4 feet (0.9 x 1.2m), which he regularly used for exhibited pictures. This suggests that, potentially, these sketches were the beginnings of pictures which could be refined later in the studio. Some of his exhibited Thames subjects shown after 1805 may even have been begun in this way.

Gallery label, August 2004

Riders on a Beach

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Riders on a Beach
c.1835

This is from a series of oil sketches that Turner made on millboard. The series was painted late in his career. Although small boards like this one were often used by artists working directly from nature, Turner made most of his oil sketches in his studio. He worked either from pencil sketches or from memory. These works reveal how Turner used oil paint to sketch out details of land, sea and sky. In the examples shown here he also included figures within the landscape.

Gallery label, September 2018

Windsor Castle from Salt Hill

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Windsor Castle from Salt Hill
c.1807

This, and the painting hung on the oppsoite wall, comes from a group of eighteen small sketches of the Thames which Turner painted on mahogany veneer. It is thought that they were probably completed out of doors, perhaps painted on a small boat. They are the closest Turner came to what Constable described as 'natural painture'. However, there is a notable difference between the two artists. Whereas Constable is concerned with making direct, even random, observations
of nature, Turner shows a greater interest
in the overall composition.

Gallery label, September 2004

Art in this room

Norham Castle, Sunrise
Joseph Mallord William Turner Norham Castle, Sunrise c.1845
The Fall of Anarchy (?)
Joseph Mallord William Turner The Fall of Anarchy (?) c.1833–4
Interior of a Great House: The Drawing Room, East Cowes Castle
Joseph Mallord William Turner Interior of a Great House: The Drawing Room, East Cowes Castle c.1830
The Ponte Delle Torri, Spoleto
Joseph Mallord William Turner The Ponte Delle Torri, Spoleto c.1840–5
The Disembarkation of Louis-Philippe at the Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport, 8 October 1844
Joseph Mallord William Turner The Disembarkation of Louis-Philippe at the Royal Clarence Yard, Gosport, 8 October 1844 c.1844–5
Two Figures on a Beach with a Boat
Joseph Mallord William Turner Two Figures on a Beach with a Boat c.1840–5

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