This sketch records the view across the River Tees from the Barnard Castle road, with the remains of Egglestone Abbey (see folio 30 verso; D11490) above and Egglestone Mill by the river towards the left. Some building work appears to be taking place just beyond the mill to the left. In this sketch Turner is revisiting almost exactly the same viewpoint as a sketch made in 1797 in the North of England sketchbook (Tate D00933; Turner Bequest XXXIV 27). The present sketch formed the basis of a studio watercolour Egglestone Abbey, near Barnard Castle (private collection),1 engraved for Thomas Dunham Whitaker’s History of Richmondshire, part of the projected seven-volume General History of the County of York (see Introduction to the sketchbook), and published in 1822.
In 1816 Egglestone Mill was a paper mill under the proprietorship of Henry Cooke. Peter Bower has given a full account of the Cooke family’s work there.2 The finished watercolour develops more clearly the building work noted in the sketch. The 1891 edition of the History of Richmondshire3 claimed that the building work was the result of a fire in the drying shed, but an investigation by the BBC programme The House Detectives in 19994 concluded that it was probably undertaken to create more accommodation to house Cooke’s ever-expanding family.
Wilton 1979, p.365 no.565.
Bower 1990, p.99 under no.41.
The History of Richmondshire, 1891, edited by Marcus Huish with notes by Mrs Hunt, p.80
The House Detectives, season 3, episode 1, first aired 25 September 1999, ‘Abbey Mill House, Egglestone’, 1999 directed by Sam Hobkinson, presented by Juliet Morris and Dan Cruickshank.