Castles and Fortifications of England and Wales

Drawings and Paintings of Castles by JMW Turner

Self-Portrait c.1799 Joseph Mallord William Turner © Tate, London

Joseph Mallord William Turner, one of Britain's greatest artists, was born in 1775. In 1882, by the age of 26, he was made a member of the Royal Academy and undertook the first of many journeys around Britain and Europe drawing landscapes, seascapes, ruined abbeys and crumbling castles. His first oil paintings were exhibited in 1796. It was during his travels in Italy in 1819 that his interest in light and colour was kindled and this developed over the years until by the late 1830's it become his trademark with paintings such as the Fighting Temeraire, Norham Castle and Rain, Steam and Speed. When he died in 1851 aged 76 he left a legacy of 300 oil paintings and 20,000 watercolours and sketches to the nation.

Norham Castle was a particular favourite revisited throughout his life and some examples of his work are shown below. More pages showing his castle art can be accessed through the links below.

Norham Castle 1797 © Tate, London Norham Castle 1806 © Tate, London Norham Castle 1822 © Tate, London

Norham Castle 1824 © Tate, London Norham Castle 1830 © Tate, London Norham Castle 1845 © Tate, London

In addition to his paintings, Turner issued a number of series of printed pictures, many of them of castles, for general publication:

  • Picturesque Views in England and Wales was a series of ninety-six watercolours, engraved and issued between 1825 and 1836.
  • Liber Studiorum, seventy of Turner’s landscape and seascape compositions published as prints in etching and mezzotint, between 1807 and 1819. They were prepared in brown watercolour washes and printed in shades of brown.
  • The Rivers of England (‘River Scenery’) was a series of thirty mezzotints published between 1823 and 1827 as a sequel to Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England.
  • The Ports of England were a set of six mezzotint engraved marine watercolours issued between 1825 and 1828 covering Sheerness, Dover, Plymouth, Ramsgate, Scarborough, Whitby. They were republished, along with six others, of Margate, Deal, Sidmouth, Falmouth, Plymouth, and Catwater at Plymouth as The Harbours of England in 1856.


    © Castles and Fortifications of England and Wales