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Although at first sight the composition appears to be a generic, vaguely classicised scene, Gillian Forrester has noted its similarity to two views in the 1805 Wey, Guildford sketchbook (Tate D06207–D06210; Turner Bequest XCVIII 19a–21; see also a third drawing: D06211, D06212; XCVIII 21a–22),1 identified by David Hill as variations of the view over the bridge at Richmond upon Thames, from the west (Twickenham) bank.2 In the absence of specific evidence, the span of the Liber Studiorum’s active publication, 1807–19, is given here as a date range (as it is for various other unpublished designs). Studies made on adjacent pages probably also show or are derived from Thames scenery: see Tate D08084–D08086, D08088; Turner Bequest CXV 1–3, 5).3
The paper is from a batch watermarked ‘J Whatman | 1807’.1 The work comprises thin washes laid in when the paper was dry, with some darker details put in wet on wet. The sky is also washed in; it is very pale, with streaks of bare paper above the distant rooftops.
This sheet was recorded by Finberg in 1909 as apparently still being in the sketchbook, but if so it was subsequently removed before the book was badly damaged by immersion in the basement of the Tate Gallery during the Thames flood of January 1928. His number, ‘4’, corresponds with the red ink folio numbers inscribed in the book by Ruskin. The whole sheet was taken from the book, leaving no stub, and then trimmed slightly irregularly at the left-hand edge to remove the stitching holes, their vestiges being just apparent.
Notes by Peter Bower, Tate conservation files.
Blank, save for inscription.
Inscribed in pencil ‘D.08087’ bottom right