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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Dunstanburgh Castle, sunrise after a squally night
Oil on canvas : 92,2 X 123,2 cm
Signed and dated 1798
Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria

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Sticks, George Blackie
"Dunstanburgh Castle"
In short
 
Sticks painted landscapes in Northumberland, the Lake District and Scotland.
Dunstanburgh Castle lies on the NE English coast, close to the border with Scotland. The theatrical, dramatic scenery of the ruins of this Edwardian castle has attracted many painters, among them William Turner.
 
About George Blackie Sticks
 
English painter
Newcastle 1843 – 1938
 
Landscape painter in oil and watercolour. 
 
Son of James Sticks, an artist from Endinburgh. 
He became the best-known member of the Sticks family of artists (including three of his brothers, two nephews and two of his sons), and in fact of Northumberland at the end of the 19th century.
 
He enjoyed an early artistic training as a designer in the important stained glass manufactory of William Wailes in Newcastle. 
He then studied painting under the Scottish painter William Bell Scott (1811 – 1890) at the Government School of Art at Newcastle. 
 
He enjoyed sketching first locally in Northumberland, later he ventured further ahead in Scotland and the Lake District. Because of a poor health he was forced towards the end of his life to stop travelling; so he came back to painting landscapes and sites from the NE English coast.
 
He exhibited his work reguarly at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh and at the Royal Academy in London.
 
About Dunstanburgh Castle
 
Dunstanburgh Castle was built on a remote headland on the coast of Northumberland, the most Northern English county, bordering with Scotland to the North. 
Its construction was ordered by Earl Thomas of Lancaster between 1313 and 1322 as his relationship with his cousin King Edward II had become openly hostile. Unfortunately the earl failed to reach Dunstanburgh when his rebellious baronial faction was defeated; he was taken prisoner and executed in 1322.
Thereafter the castle became the property of the Crown before passing into the Duchy of Lancaster. In the 1380s John of Gaunt expanded its defences.
During the Wars of the Roses (1455 – 1487) between the rival Houses of Lancaster and York the fortress was the focus of fierce fighting; it changed hands several times, suffered great damages and subsequently fell into decay.
In 1604 King James I sold the property off into private ownership; it just became increasingly ruinous. Now it is owned by the National Trust.
The three most striking features of the ruined fortress are the three-storey high Great Gatehouse, the Egyncleugh Tower and the right tower, called the Lilburn Tower, after the early 14th century Constable of the castle.
 
Joseph Mallord William Turner (London, 1775 – 1851 London) sketched and painted Dunstanburgh Castle on several occasions between 1797 and the 1830s, although he apprently only visited it once, in 1797.
 
About our painting
 
Just like Turner, Sticks has chosen for a theatrical and poignant scenery, which does not completely coincide with the reality of the site. By not representing the ruined walls of the fortress in between the towers he has stressed man’s heroic fragility in the face of the powers of nature, of the violent ocean. This dramatic scenery is all about the rough energy and stormy conditions of an awe-inspiring wild nature.
 
Why should you buy this painting?
 
Because it is such a dramatic view of a great ruined Medieval castle.
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