About this artwork

The river Clyde cascades over the rocks and the spray from the falls fills the air. This is the earliest of Turner's watercolours of the Falls of Clyde which he visited on a sketching tour to the North of England and Scotland in 1801. Here he has moved away from a purely topographical description of the scene to one which is more dramatic in both colouring and light effects. He joined two pieces of sketchbook paper to accommodate this dynamic view. There are related watercolours in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight.

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Joseph Mallord William Turner

Joseph Mallord William Turner

Turner transformed the art of landscape painting in Britain. From detailed topographical studies to expansive, atmospheric vistas his works celebrate the diversity and emotive power of nature. He was born in Covent Garden, the son of a barber, and exhibited his earliest sketches in his father's shop before studying at the Royal Academy Schools. Turner became the youngest ever full member of the Royal Academy in 1802. His experimental use of watercolour and oils achieved stunning effects, attracting contemporary criticism and praise. Turner's admiration of past masters, above all Claude Lorraine, and the numerous sketches made on many tours in Britain and abroad, provided the basis for his 'sublime' land and seascapes.