Stonehenge is depicted in the midst of a terrifying electrical storm in this print after JMW Turner. A bolt of lightning strikes the centre of the ancient stone circle and dead sheep strew the foreground. Their shepherd has been struck down too, lying lifeless by his howling dog. The plate was issued in part seven of the Picturesque Views in England and Wales, from Drawings by J.M.W. Turner, a major print publication directed by Charles Heath between 1827 and 1838.
To prepare the original design for this print Turner most probably returned to sketches he made during a tour of the West Country in 1811. The Stonehenge sketchbook (held at Tate Britain) contains numerous studies, all rendered with close attention to the physical configuration of the site and shapes of the stones. The purpose of this rendition, however, is high pictorial drama rather than topographical ‘accuracy’.
- Full title:
- Picturesque views in England and Wales, from drawings by J. M. W. Turner ... engraved under the superintendence of Mr. Charles Heath. With descriptive and historic illustrations by H. E. Lloyd ... In two volumes ...
- 1829, London
- Charles Heath
- Etching / Engraving / View
- Joseph Mallord William Turner, Robert Wallis
- © British Library
- Usage terms:
- Public Domain
- Held by:
- British Library
- Article by:
- Sam Smiles
- Science and nature, Antiquarianism, Country
Britain's prehistoric landscapes are depicted in prints and drawings across the British Library's collections. Sam Smiles, Emeritus Professor of Art History, University of Plymouth, explores further.