The J. Paul Getty Museum

Conway Castle, North Wales

Object Details


Conway Castle, North Wales


Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, 1775 - 1851)






Watercolor and gum arabic with graphite underdrawing

Object Number:



53.7 × 76.5 cm (21 1/8 × 30 1/8 in.)

See more

See less

Object Description

On a dramatic, rocky area of the northern coast of Wales looms the late medieval Conway Castle. It towers over a stormy bay while fisherman struggle to pull their boats ashore. Caught in this uproaring of the sea, the tiny figures of fishermen in their boat convey a sense of humans' barely significant place in the order of the universe.

The Welsh landscape exerted a strong hold on Joseph Mallord William Turner, and he made several sketching trips there in the 1790s. In this early Romantic painting, Turner represented the dramatic effects of natural light, allowing sunshine breaking through the clouds to illuminate the castle and the coast beyond.

about 1843

Buchanan, sold

- 1991

Nicholas Gage, eighth viscount Gage [sold, Sotheby's, London, April 11, 1991, lot 46]


Leger Galleries (London, England)

Turner in Wales (July 14 to November 17, 1984)
  • Mostyn Art Gallery (Llandudno), July 14 to September 8, 1984
  • Glynn Vivian Art Gallery (Swansea), September 22 to November 17, 1984
The Great Age of British Watercolours, 1750-1880 (January 15 to July 25, 1993) (catalogue by A. Wilton and A. Lyles)
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), January 15 to April 12, 1993
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), May 9 to July 25, 1993
Turner (March 16 to September 10, 1996) (catalogue edited by M. Lloyd)
  • National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne), June 27 to September 10, 1996
Master Drawings from the J. Paul Getty Museum (December 16, 1997 to February 22, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to February 22, 1998
J. M. W. Turner (October 1, 2007 to September 21, 2008)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), October 1, 2007 to January 6, 2008
  • Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas), February 10 to May 18, 2008
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), June 23 to September 21, 2008
Luminous Paper: British Watercolors and Drawings (July 19 to October 23, 2011)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 19 to October 23, 2011