Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851),
Aberdulais Mill, Glamorgan, 1796-7,
watercolour with pencil, 38 x 49.5 cm.
This watercolour was probably painted in 1796-7 based on a drawing made by Turner during a visit to south Wales in June and July of 1795. In one of the drawing books from south Wales Turner lists the various works he had been commissioned to do. One of them is a picture of Aberdulais for a certain "Mr. Mitchell". The same person had also commissioned a picture of Llandeilo bridge. Today that picture forms part of the collections of the National Museum of Wales.
Turner visited Aberdulais whilst on his third tour of Wales. Aberdulais is a site of great importance in the early development of industry in Wales. In 1584 a copper works was established here harnessing the power of Afon Dulais to drive its machinery. It remained an industrial centre for over 300 years. Turner's watercolour captures this industrial lifer within a landscape.Andrew Wilton assesses the picture in these terms: "Of all Turner's views of watermills executed at this period - and Wales provided him with many - this is the most comprehensive in its survey of the life of such a place, with the least emphasis on picturesque charm for its own sake."
The mill is now owned by the National Trust and is open to visitors.
This picture was purchased by the National Library of Wales from Christie's auction house in July 1997. The purchase was made with the aid of a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund..