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Watercolour - Warkworth Castle, Northumberland
  • Warkworth Castle, Northumberland
    Turner, Joseph Mallord William, born 1775 - died 1851
  • Enlarge image

Warkworth Castle, Northumberland

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    England (painted)

  • Date:

    1799 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Turner, Joseph Mallord William, born 1775 - died 1851 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Ellison Gift

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room WS, case R, shelf 34, box L

By 1797 Turner was painting large and ambitious watercolours for public exhibition. He wanted to give paintings in watercolour the same status that was given to paintings in oil. Turner made a sketching tour of the north of England in 1797. This watercolour is based on a drawing in a sketchbook dating from his visit to Warkworth. The castle was built between the 12 th and 15th centuries on a curve of the River Coquet.

Physical description

Warkworth Castle, Northumberland, watercolour depicting a castle on a rocky hill set on the coast, with storm brewing on the horizon and approaching from behind the hill.

Place of Origin

England (painted)


1799 (painted)


Turner, Joseph Mallord William, born 1775 - died 1851 (artist)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 81.5 cm framed, Width: 107.7 cm framed

Object history note

Exhibited with the full title in the catalogue Warkworth Castle, Northumberland - thunder storm approaching at sun-set, and a quotation from James Thomson's The Seasons, a poem that had inspired many landscape artists since its publication in the later 1720s:
'Behold slow setting o'er the lurid grove gains
The full possession of the sky; and on yon baleful cloud
A redd'ning gloom, a magazine of fate
Turner first visited the north of England in the summer of 1797, and this large watercolour was painted in his studio from a drawing he made on the spot in his sketchbook. The watercolour was later engraved for the series The Rivers of England. As expressed in the poem, it is the dramatically shifting atmosphere of the scene, combined with the rugged grandeur of the castle on its eminence, that appealed to Turner. It is exactly the kind of work that could withstand comparison with oil paintings on the Royal Academy walls.

Descriptive line

Watercolour of Warkworth Castle, Northumberland by Joseph Mallord William Turner. Great Britain, 1799.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Warrell, Ian, ed. J.M.W. Turner London: Tate Publishing, 2007. ISBN 978 1 85437 569 8.
Andrew Wilton The Life and Work of J M W Turner London: Academy Editions, 1979. ISBN: 0856705659.
David Solkin, ed. Turner and the MastersLondon: Tate Publishing, 2009. ISBN: 978-1-85437-798-2.
Wilton, Andrew. The Life and Work of J. M. W. Turner. London: Academy Editions, 1979. 328 p., ill. ISBN 856705659.

Subjects depicted

Coast-lines; Clouds; Coastal fortifications; Castles; Weather; Storms; Light; Landscapes (representations)




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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