As part of my initial research to the project ‘Sketches From Aotearoa’. I thought it would be contextually relevant to look back to a series of sketchbooks produced by William Turner between the years 1799 – 1802 from an artists perspective myself and Phil Clarke as well as a bookbinders perspective in which I asked Paola Mac who kindly agreed. It was during this time that Turner took to the landscape to experience and explore a variety of varied  landscapes from the Pier at Calais 1799, Munro’s of the highlands 1802 to mountain passes of Switzerland. I was particularly interested in his subject matter, composition and approach to his exploration of materiality explored in his works.

Sketchbooks requested for viewing at Tate Britain Study Room included:
1) St Gothard and Mont Blanc Sketchbook
2) Tummel Bridge Sketchbook 1801
3) Grenoble Sketchbook –
4) Calais Pier 1799- 1802
5) Mountains near Simplon Pass
I was particularly taken back by two sketchbooks in particular. The first being Calais Pier 1799 – 1802. One of the larger sketchbooks with duck egg blue paper which appeared to act as a midtone. It was clearly evident viewing in person throughout the sketchbook he experimented a lot with charcoal, pencil and ink, knocking in highlights with a white chalk. The other sketchbook I was particularly drawn to was the very small Tummel Bridge produced around 1801 on his highland explorations. Within this sketchbook he appeared to be much more confident in producing A5 sized sketches from compositional studies to miniature watercolour studies dabbling colour charts here and there to gage the colours for later studio works. But to take on board ideas, traditional materials to contextually and historically ground my understanding of what landscape sketches are.


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