Joseph Mallord William TurnerA Mill Wheel c.1806-10

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Artwork details

A Mill Wheel
From Herstmonceux and Pevensey Sketchbook
Turner Bequest XCI
Date c.1806-10
MediumChalk and graphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 128 x 201 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCI 62
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 62 Recto:
A Mill Wheel circa 1806–10
Turner Bequest XCI 62
Pencil and white chalk on cream wove paper, prepared with a buff wash, 128 x 201 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘62’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘XCI 62’ bottom left, descending vertically
Blind-stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram, bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This wheel presumably belongs to a mill, and there is more machinery evidently from the same structure on folio 63 of the sketchbook (D05680). The low frontal view of the wheel and the mill building behind it, with an outhouse or door on the right and walls overgrown with creeper, has some resemblance to the Liber Studiorum plate Pembury Mill (for Turner’s drawing for this see Tate D08116; Turner Bequest CXVI O). This may be coincidental, but is worth mentioning in view of the origin of another Liber subject, Martello Towers, near Bexhill, Sussex, on folio 11 (D05628). Charles Turner’s plate of Pembury Mill was published in 1808 so if there is any connection the drawings must be earlier, perhaps from 1806 if, as suggested in the Introduction to the sketchbook, Turner combined his visit that year to William Frederick Wells at Knockholt with touring in Kent and Sussex. Pembury lies on a direct route from there to the coast. Wells was instrumental in the formation of the Liber project.
The leaf is stained.

David Blayney Brown
March 2011

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