Joseph Mallord William Turner

Garrick’s Villa and the Temple to Shakespeare at Hampton on the River Thames


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 355 x 507 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 23

Catalogue entry

Ian Warrell noted this colour study as ‘stylistically associated’ with Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales, and related its composition slightly tentatively to pencil sketches in the Isle of Wight sketchbook, used on the island in 1827 (Tate D20762, D20764; Turner Bequest CCXXVII 20, 21); indeed, the connection appears conclusive, and Eric Shanes has also accepted it.1
The subject, the house of actor David Garrick (1717–1779) from the 1750s and subsequently redeveloped for him in Palladian style by Robert Adam (1728–1792), faces south across the Thames south-west of Twickenham and Richmond upon Thames and north-west of Hampton Court Palace, with a porticoed rotunda as a garden feature on the riverbank below.2 This ‘Temple to Shakespeare’ appears above the river at the centre here, with the house pale among the trees to its right. The temple remains in good repar, but the house was damaged by fire in 2008.3 Despite Turner’s familiarity with the Thames in this area and his extensive depictions of nearby sites, sometimes in terms of their literary and historical associations,4 the pencil sketches and this colour study are the only identified explorations of the present subject.
A drawing elsewhere in this sketchbook formed the basis of another England and Wales-type colour study (Tate D25224; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 102). See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified but unrealised subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Shanes 1997, pp.27, 95, 102, 104.
See text and early engravings at ‘Garrick’s Villa’, The Twickenham Museum, accessed 5 March 2013,; see also Garrick’s Temple to Shakespeare, accessed 5 March 2013,
‘In pictures: Garrick’s Villa fire’, BBC, accessed 5 March 2013,
See David Hill, Turner on the Thames: River Journeys in the Year 1805, New Haven and London 1993.
Blank, save for inscriptions: stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘CCLXIII 23’ towards bottom right; and in pencil ‘CCLXIII 23’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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