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Conway Castle, North Wales
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Joseph Mallord William Turner
English, 1798
Watercolor and gum arabic with graphite underdrawing
21 1/8 x 30 1/8 in.
95.GC.10

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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.