Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (London 1775-1851)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more Property from the Hermann and Else Schnabel CollectionThe following two watercolours by J.M.W. Turner come from the collection of Hermann and Else Schnabel, renowned Hamburg based collectors and philanthropists. Hermann was one of the most successful German businessmen of the Post-War era, having acquired a small trading company in 1949 and gone on to grow it into the world's largest independent chemical retailer. Great believers in philanthropy, they have been huge supporters of cultural projects in their home city, including, of course, the Hamburger Kunsthalle. The Schnabels have been great collectors of Impressionist art, and were regular attendees of the gala evening sales at Christie’s New York through the 1980s and 1990s; always attired in black tie, Hermann would bid with a great sense of theatre and determination. Their collection was always a source of great pleasure for them, as well as a testament to the connoisseurship and keen eye of both Else and Hermann.Three exceptional works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (L'enfant au sein, dit Maternité, Le petit peintre (Claude Renoir), and Baigneuses nue assise) will be offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art sales in New York in November 2020, while in October 2020 in New York, James Jacques Joseph Tissot’s spectacular The Tale will be offered in the European Art sale and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s iconic lithograph, La clownesse assise, Mademoiselle Cha-u-ka-o, will be offered in the Prints and Multiples sale.
Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (London 1775-1851)

Ludlow Castle, Shropshire

Details
Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (London 1775-1851)
Ludlow Castle, Shropshire
pencil and watercolour heightened with gum arabic and with scratching out on paper
11 5/8 x 17 ¾ in. (29.4 x 45 cm.)
Provenance
Commissioned by Charles Heath.
Thomas Griffith, by 1833.
George Morant; Christie’s, London, 21 April 1847, lot 1135, as ‘Ludlow Castle and Bridge’ (71 gns to Broderip).
F. Broderip; Christie's, London, 6 February 1871, lot 624 (unsold).
The Right Hon. W.H. Smith, and by descent to the following
Hon. W.F.D. Smith, by 1902.
with Agnew's, London, where purchased by the following
Sir Joseph Beecham, 26 June 1908; Christie's, 4 May 1917, lot 147 (2,700 gns to Freeman).
Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 10 May 1918, lot 88 (2800 gns to Baird Carter).
Robert Clarke (†); Christie’s, London, 9 November 1993, lot 50, when purchased by the present owners.
Literature
Sir Walter Armstrong, Turner, London, 1902, p. 264.
A.J. Finberg, The Life of J.M.W, Turner, 2nd ed. Oxford, 1961, p. 514, no. 442k.
W.G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of Turner, II, London, 1913, p. 194, no. 249.
E. Shanes, Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales 1825-1838, London, 1979, p. 34, no. 37, as ‘c.1830’, illustrated in colour.
A. Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg, 1979, p. 396, no. 825.
E. Shanes, Turner’s England 1810-38, London, 1990, p. 202, colour plate 171.
C. Payne, ‘Boundless Harvests: Representations of Open Fields and Gleaning in Early Nineteenth Century England, Turner Studies, Summer 1991, XI, no. 1, p. 15, no. 27.
Exhibited
London, Moon, Boys and Graves Gallery, June-July 1833, no. 33.
London, Guildhall, 1896, no. 6.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside the EU or, if the UK has withdrawn from the EU without an agreed transition deal, from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Customs Duty as applicable will be added to the hammer price and Import VAT at 20% will be charged on the Duty Inclusive hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair

Lot Essay


Turner depicted ancient castles and other military fortifications in almost half of the subjects in his celebrated series of Picturesque Views of England and Wales (1825-38). His images invariably evoked the unsettled, martial character of British history, implicitly juxtaposing such events with the recent conflicts against Napoleon. But the creation of the series also coincided with the establishment of a more romantic interest in these remains, whose appeal had formerly been limited to antiquarians.
One of the finest England and Wales watercolours still in private hands, this pastoral view of Ludlow Castle perfectly epitomises this shift in the perception of historic ruins. Here Turner shows the battlement walls warmly illuminated by afternoon sunshine from a position to the north-west of the town, with the lofty bell-tower of St Laurence’s church (‘the cathedral of the Marches’) to the left. On the other side of the castle is Dinham Bridge, to the south, which was the subject of two of Turner’s early watercolours: Huntington Library, San Marino (W.264); and Barber Institute, Birmingham (W.265). The massed accumulation of the castle’s towers shimmers as if seen in a mirage, and the effect is further heightened in the diaphanous reflection in the River Teme below. Instead of echoes of gunfire, or the clash of swords, Turner conjures up a tranquil stillness that is only disturbed by a moorhen as it skims across the water, its sudden outburst of throaty clucking threatening to wake the baby in the arms of one of the gleaners resting in the foreground.
The origins of the castle go back to the 11th Century, following the Norman conquest, when it was constructed as a stronghold to protect the border with Wales. Over the following centuries it was regularly the focus of the friction between the two nations, gradually expanding over time to consolidate its strategic function by including apartments fit to host visiting royalty. Eight years before the Civil Wars brought an end to its importance, the Great Hall in Ludlow Castle was the setting for the performance of Milton’s masque Comus (see Turner’s watercolour vignette, engraved by Goodall, for John Macrone’s 1835 edition of Milton’s Poetical Works; W.1270).
Turner’s England and Wales watercolour was painted around 1829-30, while the first parts of the series were attracting favourable reviews. As was the case for many views in this project, he only rarely made new visits to the sites depicted, and more frequently resorted to the diligent sketches he had made during his extensive travels in the 1790s. The view of Ludlow, for example, relies on sketches dating from 1798, towards the end of a long tour through Wales. Soon after his visit that year it seems that Turner was commissioned to develop a finished watercolour from the pencil sketch that served as the basis for this England and Wales design. This request came from one of his earliest patrons, Viscount Malden, whose home at Hampton Court in Herefordshire he visited on his way home from Ludlow to London. Malden did not become Earl of Essex until March 1799, so the inscriptions confirming his commissions on the back of the Ludlow and Hampton Court sketches postdate the tour by at least six months. Although Turner set to work on the agreed selection, for some reason the promised watercolour of Ludlow remained unfinished and was eventually found among the contents of Turner’s studio (TB XLIV i; Tate, D01911).
Another neighbouring estate Turner called at in 1798 was Powis Castle, about thirty miles to the north-west of Ludlow. Its owner George Herbert, the 2nd Earl of Powis, was at that date also leasing Ludlow Castle. In the preceding decades he had restored some of the external fabric of the castle, as well as improving the surrounding landscape setting through the addition of paths and the planting of trees. It is possible to get a sense of the relatively young saplings in the sketch that served as the basis for this watercolour, which Turner used to frame the castle when composing his scene (TB XXXVIII 63; Tate, D01317).
In working from the pencil outline thirty years later, he replaced the twined trunks on the right with an Italianate stone pine, elegantly curving towards the building – a feature that Eric Shanes has observed is ‘an unlikely sight in Shropshire’ (see the colour beginnings featuring this Claudian device which were identified by Shanes as an intermediate stage in the development of the Image: TB CCLXIII 49, 55; Tate, D25171, D25177). Down in the left corner of the pencil sketch, another clump of trees and the weir beside them are dispensed with in the finished work to create the wide glassy expanse of water. Architectural historians will also note that Turner’s realisation of the battlements in the watercolour, despite being correctly transcribed in his sketch, is not always accurate, particularly for the North-West Tower. But in all his modifications, it must be agreed that he sacrificed veracity for stunning visual effect.
We are grateful to Ian Warrell for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.

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