Joseph Mallord William Turner: Colchester

watercolor and chalk image of house on pond with hill in distance

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851)
Colchester, Essex
c. 1825–26
Watercolor, white and colored chalks, and gouache, with scraping
Samuel Courtauld Trust: Gift in memory of Sir Stephen Courtauld, 1974

In 1825 Turner was commissioned to produce designs for a series of engravings. Colchester shows the artist grappling with the challenges of producing watercolors intended for engraving. He developed a technique of layering careful finishes of stippling over color washes. The figures chasing a hare allude to the witch hunts that took place in Colchester during the English Civil War: according to rural tradition, witches could transform themselves into hares.

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