Joseph Mallord William Turner

Fonthill Abbey

1799

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Dimensions
Support: 83 x 166 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D03964
Turner Bequest LXVI 126

Catalogue entry

The Turner scholar C.F. Bell originally confirmed1 Finberg’s suggestion that this small study shows Fonthill Abbey under construction in Wiltshire in 1799. It seems to be an elaboration of the detail of the house in the distant view on folio 126 verso opposite (D03963; Turner Bequest LXVI 125a), and is placed on the page directly above the slight indication of the tower in that broad landscape. Although it does not correspond exactly to any of the finished watercolour views made for William Beckford in 1800 1800 (private collection; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Montréal Museum of Fine Arts; National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester),2 it is fairly close to that in the South-West View (Toronto).3 See also the various views of the house and estate in the Fonthill sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest XLVII).
1
C.F. Bell (died 1966), undated MS note in copy of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, I, p.168.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.338 nos.335–339, reproduced, and pl.53.
3
Ibid., no.336, reproduced.
Verso:
Blank

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

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