When Turner painted it in 1799, it was already a popular ruin that many people visited to admire the beauty of the local area and the contrast of the castle that was once an important stronghold.
For many centuries the castle was in the possession of the Percy family, who owned more than one estate but took Warkworth Castle as their preferred abode, but by the 1700s it was already in a state of disrepair.
Sometimes a decent ruin of a castle can draw more attention and interest than a complete one, and tourists came soon enough to view the scene.
Known for his tendency toward dramatic use of light, J. M. W. Turner casts a gentle glow upon the castle itself and the river in the foreground.
A boat floats down the river, oars raised, giving life and motion to the scene. Though the castle itself stands in the background, it is the focus of the image with the strong walls and high towers, all drawing the eye immediately.
The detail seems sharp despite the incandescent light upon it, and the scene seems cut from a moment long lost to history.
Having one of William Turner's great paintings will always draw the attention of any visitor, and this painting fits the bill.
It is at once a calming and a stirring image; the castle looms over the landscape in such a way that the rest of the image seems only there to bring your attention to it.
Yet that does not mean there is a single brush-stroke out of place, since Turner was an expert at using many different methods with his brushes and paints to create the unique effects that mark his art as something special.
Painted in 1799, Warkworth Castle is one of William Turner's earliest landscapes. He was in his early twenties, and already had remarkable skill with the brush. In this dramatic scene, Turner took a well-known ruin of the time and created a vivid, memorable image.