Author: Andy Shield
JMW Turner (1775 - 1851) is widely considered to be one of the greatest landscape painters of all time. With an adroit expressionistic style, he seems to capture the very essence of the natural world.
His treatment of light brings a dynamism and energy to many powerful depictions of British skies. While his appreciation of the sciences, creates an inner richness that underpins his works.
Inverary Castle and Town Scotland is a collaborative piece by JMW Turner and his good friend from the Royal Academy, Charles Turner (1774 – 1857). JMW etched the outline on to a copper plate and then passed this to Charles who filled in the etching with mezzotint.
It forms part of JMW’s Liber Studiorum project and was published with the 13th part of the series on the 1st of January 1816. Many skilled engravers worked on this compendium, but Charles was considered by JMW to be the greatest of his generation.
The Liber Studiorum, which translates as ‘book of studies’, illustrates JMW’s belief that there are five categories of landscape painting - architectural, historical, marine, mountainous and pastoral. Each mezzotint features a letter to indicate which of the categories it belongs to and Inverary Castle and Town Scotland has an M - for mountainous.
The plan was to release 100 prints but only 71 were produced. It’s said that there were many quarrels throughout the process, including one between JMW and Charles that led to them not speaking for 19 years.