Joseph Mallord William Turner A Wooden Shelter in the Grounds of Fonthill, with a Flock of Sheep and Shepherd; The Unfinished Tower of the Abbey Seen on the Horizon 1799

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Artwork details

Title
A Wooden Shelter in the Grounds of Fonthill, with a Flock of Sheep and Shepherd; The Unfinished Tower of the Abbey Seen on the Horizon
From Fonthill Sketchbook
Turner Bequest XLVII
Date 1799
Medium Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 333 x 468 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D02224
Turner Bequest XLVII 47
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

Wealthy landowners often commissioned artists to make paintings of their estates and houses. Few were as extraordinary as William Beckford's outrageous residence, Fonthill Abbey. Beckford invited Turner to stay at Fonthill, in Wiltshire, when the building was still under construction. Turner made many drawings and sketches of the neo-Gothic extravagance and its huge tower, which collapsed under its
own weight a few years later.

 

The focus of this watercolour is the rural scene in the foreground, but some idea
of the sheer scale of the abbey can be gauged from the silhouetted tower visible on the horizon.

 

September 2004

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