Joseph Mallord William Turner

Buildings on Nightingale Lane, Richmond Hill; a Distant London Spire


View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 89 x 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLIV a 66 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, buildings are seen from the brow of Richmond Hill, looking south-west. The view is a little to the left of the more famous prospect up the Thames shown in several of Turner’s works, including the large oil England: Richmond Hill, on the Prince Regent’s Birthday, exhibited in 1819 (Tate N00502).1 The nearest buildings here are on the south side of Nightingale Lane, and below to the right is the hipped roof of a wing of the present Rose of York public house on Petersham Road. In between is the future site of the Petersham Hotel, now standing prominently beyond and below the low building with the round window in its gable on the left here, which remains recognisable. It is apparently shown again at the bottom right of a drawing in the Richmond Hill; Hastings to Margate sketchbook (Tate D10553; Turner Bequest CXL 72a), and below the centre of the watercolour Richmond Hill of about 1825 or earlier (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight),2 engraved in 1826 for the Literary Souvenir (Tate impression: T06132).
The inscription at the lower left is rather heavy and unclear, but may be notes on the battle of Waterloo (1815), perhaps as part of Turner’s interest in the subject around 1817–18 (see under folio 1 recto; D12124). The second line is preceded by ‘25 [...]’ on folio 68 recto opposite (D12219; Turner Bequest CLIV a 67); the word apparently reading ‘Brunswk Cavalry’ may refer to the involvement of German troops from Brunswick,3 although the second word is very unclear. ‘Brunswicks’ are also mentioned in the notes on folio 78 verso (D12239; CLIV a 77a), which certainly refer to Waterloo.
The isolated inscription at the top left labels a small sketch of a spire, a continuation from the various drawings of distant buildings, apparently all London landmarks, on the opposite page.

Matthew Imms
September 2013

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.106–7 no.140, Pl.145 (colour).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.359 no.518, pl.135.
See ‘The Battle of Waterloo: Allied order of battle’, British Battles, accessed 22 August 2013,

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