Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Gleaners

c.1805–7

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Pen and ink on paper
Dimensions
Support: 171 x 262 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D05807
Turner Bequest XCIII 25 a

Catalogue entry

See Introduction to the sketchbook and notes to the recto (D05802) and folio 22 verso (D05801) for its various studies of (mainly rustic) figures, their character and meaning; and especially folios 23 verso and 24 verso (D05803, D05805) for the subject, seen by Hill as a development of the present sketch if Turner was working backwards through the sketchbook. While Finberg and Hill differ in their interpretations of 23 verso and 24 verso, both agree that this is a scene of distress, in Hill’s words one of ‘desperate rural poverty’. These views must derive from the presence of a baby and the crawling, pleading gestures of some of the figures. However, a possible connection with a harvest at Cassiobury Park is mentioned in the catalogue note to 23 verso, and these figures might be gleaning.

David Blayney Brown
October 2007

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