- Museum number
Newport Castle; castle in centre and to right overlooking water, sailing vessels moored or at anchor beside huge walls of castle, arched entrance with stakes in water for mooring to right with figure storing or launching rowing boat, wooden bridge in distance to left. c.1796
- Production date
- 1796 (circa)
Height: 226 millimetres
Width: 302 millimetres
- Curator's comments
- Turner's tour to South Wales in 1795 was his first to the province for which he made thorough preparations. The first excursion of 1792 from Tintern Abbey across to Devil's Bridge has left little surviving work, then in 1794, on his tour of the Midlands, Turner made a brief diversion between Shrewsbury and Chester to see Valle Crucis and and the hilltop fort of Dinas Bran.
In 1795, Turner took two sketchbooks, one roughly 5x8 inches, the other about twice as big, measuring 10x8 inches. He set out from Bristol, and Newport was one of the first places he stopped on a route which took him out along the south coast as far as Pembroke and St David's, then back inland through Llandovery and Brecon.
Newport Castle stands on the west bank of the river Usk. It was built between 1327 and 1386 by Hugh d'Audele or his son-in-law Ralph, earl of Stafford, and enlarged in the fifteenth century. After its owner, the 3rd duke of Buckingham, was beheaded in 1521, the castle fell into disrepair, though its most impressive feature, the great central tower, survived to form the focus of Turner's watercolour, even if its upper story, which the artist marks with sprouting vegetation, had been lost.
The sketch on which this watercolour of Newport Castle is based is one of the first in the larger 'South Wales' sketchbook (TB XXVI f.3). Opposite it, on the verso of f.2, is a list of orders for watercolours of subjects from the tour, including 'Mr Kershaw' for a drawing of Newport, presumably 1910-2-12-289. While several of these commissions appear to have been abandoned or never finished, Newport is one the few that were. Wilton notes a fine, early 19th-century copy of the watercolour in Newport Museum and Art Gallery.
Lit: A. Wilton, 'Turner in Wales', Mostyn Art Gallery 1984.
- Not on display
- Exhibition history
1980 Aug-Sep, London, Bankside Gallery, 'Rivers in Britain', no.14
1984 Jul-Sep, Llandudno, 'Turner in Wales', no. 41
1984 Sep-Nov, Swansea, 'Turner in Wales', no. 41
2007 Mar-June, Beijing, Palace Museum, Britain meets the World
- Acquisition date
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number