Turner is thought to have drawn the present watercolour when he returned to the valley for a second time in either 1841 or 1842. On this occasion he was able to get much closer to the castle and he took the opportunity to explore it thoroughly, ‘walking right round the rock on which it stands.’2 The watercolour forms part of a group of at least five sheets, where Turner worked on a distinctive grey paper and recorded what he saw before him with a subtle palate, intense scratching out and rapidly applied pen and red ink.
Several distinguished collectors have owned this watercolour, however chief amongst these is John Edward Taylor (1830-1905). He was the son of the founder of the Manchester Guardian, who assembled a highly important art collection. In 1892 he bequeathed 154 watercolours (including twenty-four works by Turner) to the newly established Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. The remainder of his collection, including the present work, was dispersed, over the course of twelve days, by Christie’s in July 1912. We are grateful to Cecilia Powell and Ian Warrell for there help in cataloguing this work.
1. Tate Britain, TB CCXCII 8 & 41
2. C. Powell, Turner in Germany, London, 1995, p. 183
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