Carisbrooke Castle: returned to the Nation
Another painting previously in the collection of BG Windus and acquired for the Nation through the Government’s Acceptance in Lieu (AIL) scheme is Carisbrooke Castle which was allocated to Carisbrooke Castle Museum, on the Isle of Wight, and was the first work by Turner to enter a public collection on the island. Turner’s view of Carisbrooke Castle, painted in 1828, was returned to the Isle of Wight in 2007.
According to the Museum this watercolour of the gatehouse to Carisbrooke Castle was painted in 1828 for the series of Picturesque views in England and Wales, a collaborative project with the printmaker, Charles Heath, who was to produce 96 of Turner’s engravings between 1827 and 1838. This is regarded as one of the finest in the series.
It certainly captures the picturesque qualities of Carisbrooke, with Turner’s trademark use of the effects of light casting a diagonal shaft of sunshine on the castle’s imposing entrance, set off by stormy clouds overhead.
Turner visited the Isle of Wight at least twice. In the summer of 1827 he stayed with the architect, John Nash, at East Cowes Castle which may be when he made the sketches for this painting.
Carisbrooke Castle featured in a local exhibition in 2013 where John Medland noted that:
His 1828 watercolour, Carisbrooke Castle, illustrated his developing obsession with light and the drama of the natural world. The castle shines like yellowed ivory as a vibrant purple sky threatens Newport.
According to the Cultural Gifts Scheme and Acceptance in Lieu Scheme panel:
Although Turner visited the Isle of Wight in 1826, the detailed sketch that he made of the entrance gatehouse to the castle dates from an earlier visit in 1795. The watercolour shows the causeway and 14th century gatehouse with the town of Newport to the left.
The Panel considered that the watercolours met the second and third criteria and that they were acceptably valued. These criteria are:
2. is the object of especial artistic or art-historical interest?
3. is the object of especial importance for the study of some particular form of art,
learning or history?
Dr Mike Bishop, Curator of Carisbrooke Castle Museum:
It has been a real privilege to have had a role in securing this painting for the museum collection and I am delighted that important works such as this are being allocated to provincial museums and galleries by the government. For this museum, one could hardly wish for a more fitting subject out of all of Turner's many works.
Carisbrooke Castle Museum opening hours:
April 1st–October 31st 10 am–4.45 pm, daily
November 1st–March 31st 10 am–3.45 pm, weekends only
It is possible to arrange an exclusive group visit on a Tuesday
Carisbrooke Castle, Castle Hill,
Isle of Wight