Painting from the trip that 'made' William Turner could sell for $800,000

In order to become the finest landscape painter of the 19th century, you need to first learn the skills - and that's exactly what the young William Turner did during his journey around Wales.

Now, more than 150 years after the painter's death, Christie's is auctioning a work from Turner's Wales trip with an estimate of half a million pounds.

Turner (not to be confused with the more famous JMW Turner) embarked on five journeys around Wales in total, after leaving London in 1798 with little more than borrowed money and pencils.

Wales is thought to have had a massive influence on Turner's works. He produced a number of landscapes during his expeditions, including a watercolour of Conwy Castle.

Turner's depiction of the Castle, situated on the River Conwy and historically regarded by the Welsh as a symbol of hated English occupation, is expected to sell for £500,000 ($798,745).

Turner's painting of Conwy Castle, during the trip around Wales which
shaped him as an artist

The watercolour is based on Turner's sketches of Conwy Castle, drawn when he was 23 years-of-age in his famous Hereford Court sketchbook.

Just as there are several sketches of Conwy Castle in Turner's book, several versions of the painting were also produced; one of which can be found in Los Angeles' Getty Museum.

In testament to the influence of Wales on Turner's burgeoning talents, other important pieces by the artist are held at the National Library of Wales, in Aberystwyth, and the National Museums and Galleries of Wales (NMGW), in Cardiff.

However, it is thought that the current financial climate in Wales will prevent these institutions from bidding at Christie's next month - which is ironic given the success of Old Master paintings as alternative investments in recent times.

Because of this, all eyes will be on the Turner when it appears at the sale of Old Masters and 19th century art in London on December 7.


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