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Creator:
Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775–1851, British
Title:

Inverary Pier, Loch Fyne: Morning

Former Title(s):

Inverary Pier, Loch Shira

Monte Rosa

Monte Rosa

Mortlake

Date:
ca. 1845
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
36 x 48 inches (91.4 x 121.9 cm) and 43 x 55 x 3 1/4 inches (109.2 x 139.7 x 8.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1977.14.79
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
fog | hills | lake | landscape | mountains | pier | reflection | texture | unfinished
Associated Places:
Argyll and Bute | Fyne, Loch | Scotland | United Kingdom
Access:
On view in the galleries
Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:5011
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This unfinished painting belongs to the last phase of J. M.W. Turner’s career, an experimental period where he reworked earlier compositions in the process of exploring new approaches to color. The landscape is derived from a mezzotint of Loch Fyne in the Scottish Highlands, which Turner had published thirty years earlier in his Liber Studiorum (1809–11), a set of prints cataloguing his landscapes. Inverary Pier is one of a number of paintings of the early 1840s that developed themes from the Liber Studiorum but which never left his notoriously slovenly studio. All of them are unfinished and share affinities with Turner’s late watercolors. Often, as here, they challenged conventional ways of composing pictures by pushing warm colors into the middle grounds and even backgrounds, thereby rejecting traditional aerial perspective. This picture was probably removed from Turner’s studio and sold after his death by his mistress, Sophia Booth.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2022



This unfinished painting belongs to the last phase of J. M. W. Turner’s career, an experimental period where he reworked earlier compositions in the process of exploring new approaches to color. The landscape is derived from a mezzotint of Loch Fyne in the Scottish Highlands, which Turner had published thirty years earlier in his Liber Studiorum (1809–11), a set of prints cataloguing his landscapes. Inverary Pier is one of a number of paintings of the early 1840s that developed themes from the Liber Studiorum but which never left his notoriously slovenly studio. All of them are unfinished and share affinities with Turner’s late watercolors. Often, as here, they challenged conventional ways of composing pictures by pushing warm colors into the middle grounds and even backgrounds, thereby rejecting traditional aerial perspective. This picture was probably removed from Turner’s studio and sold after his death by his mistress, Sophia Booth.

Gallery label for installation of YCBA collection, 2016
In the twentieth century, paintings such as this from Turner's later career-in which sky, water, and land emerge as glowing, vaporous presences, and colors are brushed, scraped, and dripped across the canvas in an experimental fashion-have commonly been admired as precursors of abstract art. It is true that by this stage Turner had moved far away from the idea of landscape as the record of a given place, looking always for elemental dramas of light against dark, warm coloring against cool-dissolving forms to suggest a world of transience, even painting dreams and visions. On the other hand, he never publicly exhibited a painting as naked of detail as this, and would almost certainly have regarded it as unfinished. In fact, it is typical of the canvases with basic rough-hewn compositions that he would keep in his studio, sometimes for years, before sending them in for an exhibition and working them up to a higher degree of finish at the last minute, in the "varnishing days" immediately before the exhibition opened. One contemporary wrote of these raw beginnings of pictures as being "divided into large masses of blue, where the water or sky was to come, and the other portions laid out in broad orange yellow, falling into delicate brown where the trees and landscapes were to be placed."1 Another described one as "a mere dab of several colours, and 'without form and void,' like chaos before creation."2 The work is from a distinct group of nine such paintings, close in size, coloring, and degree of finish, all of which are based on compositions from the artist's much earlier series of prints, the Liber Studiorum; probably the best known painting of the group is Norham Castle (Tate Gallery). Turner's Liber Studiorum consisted of seventy-one mezzotint plates, engraved after drawings made by him specially for the project, and was published in parts between 1807 and 1819. The plate of Inverary Pier, which was published in 1811, clearly shows the same disposition of mountains and hillsides around the loch and enables us to identify the vague rectilinear form to the left in the painting as the pier. Inverary stands on the western shore of Loch Fyne in the Scottish Highlands, and the view is looking east toward the head of the loch and, of course, the morning sun. In transposing from print to painting, Turner edited out not only smaller details, but also some figures and boats at the pier, losing a key vertical accent provided by a boat's mast at the center of the composition. Perhaps he would have used the area of scraped-in red in the lower left as the groundwork for elements of this kind if he had finished the painting for exhibition.3

Malcolm Warner, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, p. 152, no. 62, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA)

William Wordsworth and the Age of English Romanticism (New York Public Library, 1987-10 - 1988-01) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Impression,soleil levant (National Gallery of Australia, 2019-06-06 - 2019-08-18) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Yale University Art Gallery 2015 - 2016 (Yale University Art Gallery, 2015-07-27 - 2015-01-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

The Critique of Reason : Romantic Art, 1760–1860 (Yale University Art Gallery, 2015-03-06 - 2015-07-26) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Turner, Monet, Twombly (Tate Liverpool, 2012-06-22 - 2012-10-28) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Turner, Monet, Twombly (Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, 2012-02-11 - 2012-05-28) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Turner, Monet, Twombly (Moderna Museet, 2011-10-08 - 2012-01-15) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale (Art Gallery of South Australia, 1998-09-16 - 1998-11-15) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale (Queensland Art Gallery, 1998-07-15 - 1998-09-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

This Other Eden : British Paintings from the Paul Mellon Collection at Yale (Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1998-05-01 - 1998-07-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Turner 1996 (National Gallery of Victoria, 1996-06-23 - 1996-09-09) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Turner 1996 (National Gallery of Australia, 1996-03-17 - 1996-06-10) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Landscape Exhibition (Japan) (Mie Prefectural Art Museum, 1993-04-10 - 1993-05-09) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Landscape Exhibition (Japan) (Daimaru Museum of Art, 1993-03-10 - 1993-03-29) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Landscape Exhibition (Japan) (Hiroshima Museum of Art, 1993-01-23 - 1993-03-07) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Landscape Exhibition (Japan) (Koriyama City Museum of Art, 1992-11-21 - 1993-01-17) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Landscape Exhibition (Japan) (Ohita Prefectural Art Hall, 1992-10-24 - 1992-11-15) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Landscape Exhibition (Japan) (Isetan Museum of Art, 1992-09-17 - 1992-10-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

English Romanticism (Center Gallery, Bucknell University, 1990-02-24 - 1990-04-08) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Fairest Isle - The Appreciation of British Scenery 1750-1850 (Yale Center for British Art, 1989-04-12 - 1989-06-25) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

William Wordsworth and the Age of English Romanticism (Chicago Historical Society, 1988-04-06 - 1988-06-05) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

William Wordsworth and the Age of English Romanticism (Indiana University Art Museum, 1988-01-27 - 1988-03-06) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

British Painting and the European Continent (Haus der Kunst Munich, 1979-11-20 - 1980-01-27) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Romance and Reality (Wildenstein) (Wildenstein & Company, Inc., 1978-09-22 - 1978-12-07) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

J. M. W. Turner - A Selection of Paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (National Gallery of Art, 1968-10-31 - 1969-04-21) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

Painting in England 1700-1850 - From The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (Yale University Art Gallery, 1965-04-15 - 1965-06-20) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

A Great Collection of British Pictures in Virginia, The Times (London), Issue No. 55689, May 1, 1963, p. 5, Available Online : Times Digital Archive Also available on Microfilm: Film An T482 (SML) [ORBIS]

Walter Armstrong, Turner, Thos. Agnew and Sons Ltd., London, 1902, p. 225, Folio A N 11 (YCBA) [OCLC]

John Baskett, Painting in England: 1700-1850: the Collection of English paintings formed by Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon : on Exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, until August 18th, , Connoisseur, Vol. 153, London, June 1963, p. 101, N1 C75 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Martin Butlin, The paintings of J.M.W. Turner, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, New Haven, 1984, p. 304..., no. 519, pl. 521, NJ18 T85 B885 1984 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 228-229, N590.2 A83 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Megan Cullen, Fairest isle : the appreciation of British scenery, 1750-1850 : [exhibition] label copy. Yale Center for British Art, April 12-June 25, 1989., , Yale Center for British Art, [New Haven, 1989, p. 67, no. 151, ND1354.4 F351 1989 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Exhibition of works by the old masters and by deceased masters of the British School including a collection illustrating the Sculptor-Goldsmith's Art chiefly of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, Winter Exhibition 26th Year, Royal Academy of Arts, 1895, p. 10, no. 25, Fiche B131 (YCBA) Also available on line : Royal Academy Collectionc Serach website [YCBA]

Gillian Forrester, Turner's 'Drawing Book', the Liber studiorum, Tate Publishing, London, 1996, p. 94, no. 35, NJ18 T85 F651 1996 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John Gage, Zwei Jahrhunderte englische Malerei, britische Kunst und Europa 1680 bis 1880 : [Ausstellung] Haus der Kunst Mèunchen, 21. November 1979 bis 27. Januar 1980: [Katalog] , Ausstellungsleitung Haus der Kunst Mèunchen, Mèunchen, 1979, pp. 368-70, no. 223, fig. 223, ND466 Z85 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Marco Goldin, Turner e gli impressionisti, la grande storia del paesaggio moderno in Europa , Linea d'ombra srl, Conegliano [Italy], 2006, p. 197, ND192.I4 T87 2006 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

J.M.W. Turner : a selection of paintings from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon., Exhibition held Oct. 31, 1968-Apr. 21, 1969 in the National Gallery of Art , National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1968, pp. 14, 29, no. 14, fig. 14, NJ18 T85 U5 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Jeremy Lewison, Turner, Monet, Twombly, later paintings , Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2011, pp. 67, 117, cat. no. 17, NJ18.T85 L53 2011 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Michael Lloyd, Turner, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 1996, pp. 200, 232, no. 32, NJ18 T85 L57 1996 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Julia Marciari-Alexander, This other Eden, paintings from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1998, p. 12, p. 152, no. 62, fig. 12, ND1314.3 Y36 1998 (YCBA) [YCBA]

John McDonald, A Feast of Mellon, Sydney Morning Herald, May 9, 1998, p. 14, Film An Sy25 (SML) Also Available Online (Factiva database) [ORBIS]

Painting in England 1700-1850 from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, The Royal Academy of Arts Winter Exhibition 1964-65., , Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK, 1964, p. 46 (v.1), no. 169, ND466 R68 1964/65 (YCBA) Also available on Microfiche: Fiche B214 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Painting in England 1700-1850, collection of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Mellon. , Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, 1963, p. 92 (v.1), no. 137, pl. 193, ND466 V57 v.1-2 (YCBA) [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) [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. 151, ND1354.4 F35 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Eric Shanes, The life and masterworks of J.M.W. Turner, Parkstone Press, New York, 2008, p. 237, NJ18 T85 S441 2008 + OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Eric Shanes, True Subject of a Major Late Painting by J.M.W. Turner Identified, Burlington Magazine, vol. 126,no.974, May 1984, pp. 284-288, N1 B87 + (YCBA) [YCBA]

Eric Shanes, Turner, the great watercolours , Royal Academy of Arts, London, 2000, pp. 24, 25, fig. 10, NJ18 T85 S446 2000 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Sam Smiles, The late works of J. M. W. Turner : the artist and his critics, The Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, London, p. 205, fig. 125, NJ18.t85 S655 2020 Oversize (YCBA) [YCBA]

Joyce H. Townsend, How Turner Painted: Materials & Techniques, Thames & Hudson, London, p. 6 (detail), p. 31, NJ18.T85 T642 2019 (LC) (YCBA) [YCBA]

Andrew Wilton, The life and work of J.M.W. Turner, Academy Editions, London, 1979, p. 294, No. P579, NJ18 T85 +W577 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Jonathan Wordsworth, British romantic art, Center Gallery, Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, 1990, p. 33, NX543 B74 1990 OVERSIZE (YCBA) [YCBA]

Jonathan Wordsworth, William Wordsworth and the age of English romanticism, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick Grasmere, UK, 1987, pp. 125, 234, no. 293, fig. 114, PR5885 W67 1987 (YCBA) [YCBA]

Yale University Art Gallery, Painting in England, 1700-1850, from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, [exhibition at] Yale University Art Gallery, April 15-June 20, 1965. , vol. 1, W. Clowes and sons, New Haven, 1965, p. 53 (v.1), no. 197, ND466 Y35 (YCBA) [YCBA]


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