Norham Castle, Sunrise by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851). c. 1845. Oil on canvas, 908 x 1219 mm. Courtesy of Tate Britain (Accession no. NO1981. Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856). Click on image to enlarge it.

Commentary from Tate Britain Online (2010)

Turner first saw Norham, bordering Scotland on the river Tweed in Northumberland, in 1797. He was at the limits of his trip to northern England, when he also visited Buttermere, seen in the painting of nearly fifty years earlier shown nearby. After that first visit he made watercolours showing the ruin at sunrise, and visits in 1801 and 1831 resulted in further views. Here, finally, is one of a series of unfinished, unexhibited paintings reworking his monochrome Liber Studiorum landscape prints. Pure colours rather than contrasting tones express the blazing light as the historic building and landscape merge.

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Last modified 14 May 2016