Search Details

Creator Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775–1851, British
Title Staffa, Fingal's Cave
Date 1831 to 1832
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 35 3/4 x 47 3/4 inches (90.8 x 121.3 cm) Frame: 44 3/4 x 57 x 3 1/2 inches (113.7 x 144.8 x 8.9 cm)
Inscription(s)/
Marks/
Lettering
Signed, lower right: "J.M.W. Turner RA"
Credit Line Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Accession Number B1978.43.14
Collection Paintings and Sculpture
Curatorial Comment J.M.W. Turner had an affinity with the Scottish landscape, inspired by his deep admiration for the work of Sir Walter Scott. In 1831 he was commissioned by the Edinburgh publisher Robert Cadell to produce illustrations for an edition of Scott’s “Poetical Works”. After a memorable stay at Abbotsford with the ailing writer, who was to die the following year, Turner traveled north to Tobermory, where he boarded a steamer bound for the remote island of Staffa. Described by Scott as “one of the most extraordinary places I ever beheld,” Staffa was celebrated for its purplish-gray basaltic formations and enigmatic cavernous spaces; Fingal’s Cave, named for the Ossianic hero, was a particular object of pilgrimage for the Romantic tourist. According to Turner’s much later account, he was caught in a wild storm; upon his return to London, he commemorated his memorable voyage, choosing the moment when the sun “getting through the horizon, burst through the rain-cloud, angry” to create an extraordinarily compelling enactment of an encounter between man, symbolized by the steamship, and the unbridled forces of nature (Turner, “Correspondence”, p. 209). In the spring of 1832 Turner exhibited “Staffa” to critical acclaim; by coincidence, Felix Mendelssohn’s “Isles of Fingal” (later retitled “Die Hebriden”) was first performed in London on 14 May of that year, though to a considerably cooler reception. Staffa remained in Turner’s studio until 1845, when it was purchased by C. R. Leslie for five hundred pounds, on behalf of the New York collector Colonel James Lenox and thus became the first painting by Turner to be sent to America. Lenox was initially displeased with his purchase, complaining that it looked “indistinct,” but Turner recommended wiping the surface of the painting, suspecting that the varnish had bloomed during its transit across the Atlantic (Butlin and Joll, 1984, p. 199). This simple solution seems to have satisfied Lenox, who went on to acquire Turner’s “Fort Vimieux” (private collection), though he was unsuccessful in persuading the recalcitrant artist to sell him the “Fighting Temeraire” (National Gallery, London), despite offering the then astronomic sum of five thousand pounds.
     -- Gillian Forrester, 2007-01
Link to This Record http://collections.britishart.yale.edu/vufind/Record/1669251
Subject Terms birds | brushstrokes | caves | cliffs | island | landscape | marine art | meteorology | science | sea | seascape | ship | smoke | steam | steamboat | storms | sunset | tourism | waves (natural events)
Place Represented Hebrides | Hebrides, Inner | Scotland | Staffa | United Kingdom
Publications

Julia Marciari-Alexander, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, pp. 148-49, no. 60, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA)


Andrew Wilton, American sublime, landscape painting in the United States, 1820-1880, Tate Publishing, London, UK, 2002, pp. 246-47, No. 51, ND1351.5 W57 2002 (YCBA)


John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, pp. 32, 33, 285, no. 91, fig. 6, pl. 91, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)


Timothy J. Barringer, Art & music in Britain, four encounters, 1730-1900., Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2006, pp. 23, 26-27, 28, V 1699 (YCBA)


Ian McKeever, The Staffa Project, published to coincide with the exhibition of new works by Ian McKeever & Thomas Joshua Cooper organised by the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston., Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston [Lancashire], 1987, p. 28, NX653 S7 S72 (YCBA)


John Gage, Turner: Rain, steam, and speed., Viking Press, [New York, 1972, p. 43, NJ18 T85 A15 R35 1972 (YCBA)


Megan Cullen, Fairest isle, the appreciation of British scenery, 1750-1850 : [exhibition] label copy by Megan Cullen ... [et al.] Yale Center for British Art, April 12-June 25, 1989., Yale Center for British Art, [New Haven, 1989, p. 67, no. 152, ND1354.4 F351 1989 (YCBA)


Judy Egerton, Turner, the Fighting Temeraire, National Gallery Publications, London, 1995, pp. 68-69, pl. 48, NJ18 T85 E34 1995 (YCBA)


David Blayney Brown, The art of J.M.W. Turner, Headline Book Publishing, London, 1990, pp. 138-39, NJ18 T85 B79 1990 + (YCBA)


Marco Goldin, Turner e gli impressionisti, la grande storia del paesaggio moderno in Europa, Linea d'ombra srl, Conegliano [Italy], 2006, p. 58, ND192.I4 T87 2006 + (YCBA)


Anthony Bailey, Standing in the sun, a life of J. M. W. Turner, Sinclair-Stevenson, London, 1997, p. 276, no. 347, NJ18 T85 B35 1997 (YCBA)


Christiana Payne, Where the sea meets the land, artists on the coast in nineteenth century Britain, Sansom & Co., Bristol, 2007, pp. 122-23, fig, 63, ND1373 G7 P38 2007 (YCBA)


Sam Smiles, J.M.W. Turner, Tate Publishing, London, 2000, pp. 55-56, no. 44, ND497 T85 S57 (YCBA)


J.M.W. Turner, Tate Publishing, London, 2007, pp.20, 144-45, 236,240, no. 102, NJ18 T85 A12 2007 + (YCBA)


Katherine Manthorne, Creation & renewal, views of Cotopaxi by Frederic Edwin Church, National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C., 1985, p. 27, NJ18 C47 M35 + (HAAS)


Charlotte Klonk, Science and the perception of nature, British landscape art in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven, 1996, p. 86, ND1354.4 K56 1996 (YCBA)


Evelyn Joll, The Oxford companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford University Press, Oxford New York, 2001, p. 308, NJ18 O84 2001 (YCBA)


Lindsay Rothwell, Paul Mellon's legacy, an American's passion for British art : Sackler Wing of Galleries, 20 October 2007 - 27 January 2008 : an introduction to the exhibition for teachers and students., Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 2007, pp. 9-10, no. 91, V 2038 (YCBA)


Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels], Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)


Acquisitions : The First Decade 1977-1986, Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1986, pp. 6, 8, 19, no. 53, color plate 8, N590.2 A7 OVERSIZE (YCBA)


Martin Butlin, The paintings of J.M.W. Turner, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven, 1984, p.193 (v.1)..., no. 347, pl. 350, 565, NJ18 T85 B885 1984 OVERSIZE (YCBA)


Malcolm Warner, Great British paintings from American collections, Holbein to Hockney, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2001, pp. 174-175, no. 51, ND464 W27 2001 (YCBA)


Catherine Hoover Voorsanger, Art and the empire city, New York, 1825-1861, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York New Haven, 2000, no. 49, N6535 N5 A28X 2000 + (HAAS) , Additional copies available at LSF [N6535 N5 A28X 2000 (LC)+ Oversize and Yns72 2000 +A78 (for use in MSSA only)]


Thomas E. Norton, 100 years of collecting in America, the story of Sotheby Parke Bernet, Harry N. Abrams, New York, NY, 1984, p. 164, N8660 S681 N67 (YCBA)


Duncan Robinson, Fairest isle, the appreciation of British scenery, 1750-1850 : Yale Center for British Art, April 12-June 25, 1989., Yale Center for British Art, [New Haven, 1989, p. 19, no. 152, ND1354.4 F35 (YCBA)


Timothy J. Barringer, Art & music in Britain, four encounters, 1730-1900 : [exhibition and label text], [New Haven, 2006, [p. 4], V 1699:1 (YCBA)


In honor of Paul Mellon, collector and benefactor, Essays, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC & Hanover, NH, 1986, pp. 259-60, fig. 2, N7442.2 M455 1986 (YCBA)


In honor of Paul Mellon, collector and benefactor, Essays, Patrick Noon, Washington, DC & Hanover, NH, 1986, pp. 259-60, fig. 2, N7442.2 M455 1986 (YCBA)


Michael Lloyd, Turner, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 1996, pp. 46, 53-54, NJ18 T85 L57 1996 + (YCBA)


Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : April 18-July 29, 2007, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conn., 2007, p. 14, V 1735 (YCBA)


Staffa, Fingal's Cave, off the West Coast of Scotland, Arts Magazine, vol. 31, October 1956, p. 9, N1 A415 OVERSIZE (HAAS)


British Art Purchases in New York and a Forthcoming Charity Sale in London, Illustrated London News, vol. 229, no. 6125, October 27, 1956, p. 713, Available Online: Illus.London News Hist. Archive


James R. Mellow, Transcendental Admirers: Turner's American Friends, ART News, vol. 79, December 1980, pp. 80-83, N1 A6 OVERSIZE (HAAS)


Exhibition of the Royal Academy, Library of the Fine Arts, vol. 3:17, June 1832, p. 508, Available online , Available online in British Periodicals Database.


S. Warburton, Staffa, Lonely Isle for Inspiration, Turner Society News, 1979, pp. 2-5, NJ18 T85 T86 + (YCBA)


Adele M. Holcomb, Indistinctness is my fault: A letter about Turner from C.R. Leslie to James Lenox, Burlington Magazine, v. 114, no. 833, August 1972, pp. 557-58, fg. 58, N1 B87 + (YCBA)


David Wallace-Hadrill, Turner in Argyll in 1831: Inveraray to Oban, Turner Studies, vol. 11:1, Summer 1991, pp. 20-29, NJ18 T85 T87 + (YCBA)


Jennifer Davis Michael, Ocean Meets Ossian, Staffa as Romantic Symbol, Romanticism, vol. 13, no. 1, 2007, pp. 9-12, fig. 2, Available online (Orbis)


Louis Hawes, Turner's Fighting Temeraire, Art Quarterly, Vol. 31, No. 1, Spring 1972, p. 33, fig. 10, V 2084 (YCBA)


Staffa, Fingal's Cave, off the West Coast of Scotland (Art Reproduction), Connoisseur, v. 138, January 1957, p. 261, J10 C762 + (SML)


Staffa, Fingal's Cave, off the West Coast of Scotland (Art Reproduction), Apollo, v. 64, December 1956, p. 165, J10 Ap43 + (SML)


Nancy Scott, America's First Public Turner, How Ruskin sold The Slave Ship to New York, British Art Journal, vol. 10, no. 3, Winter Spring 2009-2010, pp. 69, 71, fig. 3, N6761 B74 + (YCBA)


Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, Romantic gardens, nature, art, and landscape design, The Morgan Library & Museum, New York Boston New York, 2010, p. 27, fig. 17, SB451 R638 2010 + (YCBA)


Andrew Wilton, The life and work of J.M.W. Turner, Academy Editions, London, 1979, pp. 197, 280, No. P347, pl. 213, NJ18 T85 +W577 OVERSIZE (YCBA)


Exhibition Catalogue. 1832. 64th., Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts, no. 64, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1832, p. 26, no. 453, N5054 A53 v. 3 (YCBA)


J. M. W. Turner, der Maler des Lichts., Gebr. Mann, Berlin, 1972, pp. 46-48, 113, No. 17, pl. 14, ND497.T8


J. M. W. Turner, der Maler des Lichts., Gebr. Mann, Berlin, 1972, pp. 46-48, 113, No. 17, pl. 14, NJ18 T85 J15 (YCBA)


Tate Britain, Turner, 1775-1851., Tate Britain, London, 1974, p. 136, No. 490, NJ18 T85 T36+ (YCBA) , Also available on Microfiche, Fiche B236


William S. Rodner, J.M.W. Turner, romantic painter of the industrial revolution, University of California Press, Berkeley, Calif., 1997, p. 3, 61, 64..., pl. 4, ND497 T85 R63 1997 (YCBA)


Frederic Ogee, Turner, les paysages absolus, Hazan, Paris, 2010, pp. 376-7, NJ18 T85 O34 2010 (YCBA)


Lindsay Duguid, The Recollected Works, TLS, the Times Literary Supplement, Issue no. 5458, November 8, 2007, p, 17, Available Online : TLS Archive , Also Available on microfilm : Film S748 (SML)


Charlotte Klonk, Prospects for the Nation, recent essays in British landscape, 1750-1880, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, ca. 1997, pp. 219-20, fig. 82, ND1354.4 P76 1997 (YCBA)


Edward Lockspeiser, Music and painting, a study in comparative ideas from Turner to Schoenberg, Harper & Row, New York, 1973, ML3849 L62 1973 (HAAS) , Temporarily shelved at MUDD (1 4 2012); copyalso available at LSF - MK3849 L62


John Gage, The Distinctness of J.M.W. Turner, Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, vol. 123, 1975, pp. 448-57, U10 R81j (LSF)


Jeremy Lewison, Turner, Monet, Twombly, later paintings, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2011, pp. 58, 59, fig. 35, NJ18.T85 L53 2011 Oversize (YCBA)


David H. Solkin, Art on the Line : the Royal Academy Exhibitions at Somerset House 1780-1836, , Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2001, p. 152, N5054 A78 2001B (YCBA)


Gabriele Crepaldi, Turner, Prestel, Munich ; London, 2011, pp. 102-03, NJ18.T85 C75 2011 (YCBA)


John Baskett, Staffa, Fingal's Cave by J.M.W. Turner, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOYcmGoc3AM, March 6, 2012, Available Online via YouTube , Video


Art, Lux, et Veritas, 2011, Personal Responses to Collections at Yale, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 2011, pp. 24-27, no. V, V2414:1 (YCBA)


Art, Lux, et Veritas, 2011, Personal Responses to Collections at Yale, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, 2011, pp. 24-27, no. V, V2414:1 (YCBA)


Duncan Robinson, Acquisitions : The First Decade 1977 - 1986, , Burlington Magazine, vol. 128, October 1986, pp. 6,9, 19, no. 53, color pl. 8, N1 B87 128:3 OVERSIZE (YCBA)


Catherine M. Gordon, British paintings Hogarth to Turner, Frederick Warne, London, 1981, p. 67, ND466 G67 (YCBA)


Collected correspondence of J. M. W. Turner, With an early diary and a memoir by George Jones, Clarendon Press, Oxford, p. 209, NJ18 T85 A2 1980 (YCBA)


Thomas Gibson Fine Art Advisory Services, [ London ], 1978, pp. [ 6-7 ], Not available at Yale


Sebastian Mitchell, Celtic Postmodernism : Ossian and Contemporary Art, , Translation and Literature, vol. 22, November 2013, pp. 406-408, 435, fig. 2, Available online (Orbis) , Edinburgh Unisersity Press


Christine Riding, Turner & the sea, Thames & Hudson, London, 2013, pp. 4-5. 18, 211, 241, 242, 252-53, 261, 270, 272, no. 128, NJ18.T85 R52 2013 OVERSIZE (YCBA)


J.M.W. Turner : the making of a master, Tate Publishing, London, 2013, pp. 60, 65, fig. 31, NJ18.T85 T3652 2013 (YCBA)


David Cordingly, Turner and the Sea, Turner Society News, no. 121, Spring 2014, p. 25, NJ18 T85 T86 OVERSIZE (YCBA)


M. W. Turner : painting set free, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2014, p. 144, fig, 44, NJ18.T85 J1552 2014 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

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