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Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the drawing is continued on folio 69 recto opposite (D01813; Turner Bequest XLII 137). Compare the studies of foliage on folios 8 verso–9 recto and 9 verso–10 recto (D01691–D01694; Turner Bequest XLII 16–17, 18–19). A study of tree stems which was probably made at the same time is on folios 69 verso–70 recto (D01814–D01815; Turner Bequest XLII 138–139). The whole group was possibly made in the grounds of Fonthill, where Turner was working on a commission from William Beckford in 1799; see the sketchbook’s Introduction.
Miklos Rajnai1 noticed the resemblance between this study and two in oil on paper of gypsies in a beech wood (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge).2 These are provisionally identified as having been made near Knockholt in Kent, following a diary entry by Joseph Farington dated 30 October 1799, to Turner’s having ‘been in Kent painting from Beech Trees’.3
Rajnai 1983, p.59; see also Yardley 1984, p.59 note 4.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.27 nos.35a and b, pls.40 and 41 (colour); see also ibid., no.35c (Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts), pl.39.
Quoted ibid., p.26; also in Kenneth Garlick and Angus Macintyre eds., The Diary of Joseph Farington, vol.IV, New Haven and London 1979, p.1292.