'The Falls of the Clyde' c. 1840

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1755 – 1851)

Oil on canvas, 89 x 119.5cm
Accession Number LL3584

Joseph Mallord William Turner 'The Falls of the Clyde'

This painting is one of a group of late and experimental oils not intended for public exhibition. In these Turner freely reworked subjects he had first treated decades before. The source for this canvas was a large watercolour he had completed in 1802, now in the Walker Art Gallery.

Situated on the upper Clyde near Lanark, the falls had become an attraction for tourists at the end of the 18th century when they had been painted by a number of artists.

Turner’s abiding fascination with the effects of strong light, here playing on the spray of cascading water, converts a picturesque scene into a profound expression of the elemental forces and primary colours of nature.