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Works Unknown Artist

Harlech Castle, from the South

1795 - 1800

Primary Image: TG0926: An Unknown Artist, Harlech Castle, from the South, 1795–1800, graphite and watercolour on wove paper, 26.3 × 37 cm, 10 ⅜ × 14 ⁹⁄₁₆ in. National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (NGI.2284).

Photo courtesy of National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin (All Rights Reserved)

Unknown Artist
  • Harlech Castle, from the South
1795 - 1800
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on wove paper
26.3 × 37 cm, 10 ⅜ × 14 ⁹⁄₁₆ in
Object Type
Monro School Copy
Subject Terms
Castle Ruins; North Wales

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2015


William Smith (1808–76); presented to the Gallery, 1872


Armstrong, 1902, p.257 as by Joseph Mallord William Turner; Dawson, 1988, pp.58–59 as by Joseph Mallord William Turner; Hodge and Mac Nally, 2012, pp.48–49 as by Joseph Mallord William Turner

About this Work

This view of Harlech Castle from the south has been attributed to Turner working at the house of Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) in successive catalogues of the artist’s work in the collection of the National Gallery of Ireland (Dawson, 1988, pp.58–59; Hodge and Mac Nally, 2012, pp.48–49). However, even in its faded state, it is clear that the crudely applied monochrome washes are not by Turner, and the pencil work is too hard and unvarying in its touch to be by Girtin either. Indeed, there is some question about the work’s status as a Monro School work since no Harlech subject is included in any of the sales from the patron’s collection, and Edward Dayes (1763–1804), the source for the majority of the views in North Wales, is not known to have travelled to the site. The work bears a striking resemblance to a view of Harlech by John Sell Cotman (1782–1842) in the collection of Tate Britain (T00969), however, and perhaps this holds the key to understanding the status of the work.

Another Monro School view of Harlech Castle, said to be by Turner and formerly in the collection of the Clonterbrook Trustees, has been attributed to Girtin by Andrew Wilton (sold at Reeds & Rains, Manchester, 20 July 1984, lot 95). He thought it was an ‘example of Girtin’s summary, “blocked-in” technique’, though in the absence of an image of the work it has not been possible to confirm the attribution (Wilton, 1984a, p.19).

by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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