Thomas Girtin has the same age and passion. When they meet in 1794 they are 19 years old. Girtin already takes advantage of the fluidity of watercolor to create images of monuments and landscapes that prefigure the romanticism.
Three years later Turner was enthused by Norham Castle over the Tweed, which had been abandoned when the advent of the Stuarts made obsolete the border disputes between England and Scotland. In one morning of very fine weather, the young man gets up before sunrise to admire the color of the sky behind the ruins. The atmosphere has become more important than the monument.
Like other English artists Turner works in a workshop according to his sketches. He does not master oil painting properly. His first masterpieces, highly admired at the Royal Academy's exhibition in London in 1798, are watercolors.
One of them of large size 52 x 74 cm shows the sunrise over Norham. It is estimated £ 500K for sale on July 5 by Christie's in London, lot 105.
This picture is a study of luminosity highlighted by the sky and the reflections on the river. Much balanced in its composition, it is altogether romantic with the outlines of the tall towers, rural with the water mill where the daily life is beginning, and bucolic with the cows coming down from the hill to soak their paws in the ford.
Turner accompanies this 1798 exhibition with a quotation in the catalog. He selected four lines from The Seasons by the local poet of southern Scotland, James Thomson. A contemporary of Rousseau and admired by Voltaire and a forerunner of Robert Burns, Thomson praised the merits of nature in words that moved the young artist. After the Napoleonic wars, Turner added a pacifist dimension to this poetic inclination, seeking to rediscover throughout Europe the observations and arguments of Byron.
SOLD for £ 580K including premium