Joseph Mallord William Turner

Gordale Scar: Waterfalls


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

Graphite on paper
Support: 173 x 260 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLVIII 30 a

Catalogue entry

This close view of Gordale Scar, near Malham, is taken from the foot of the lower fall, looking up to the upper fall. It is the closest of seven studies that Turner made of Gordale, including six in the Yorkshire 2 sketchbook (beginning with Tate D11335; Turner Bequest CXLV 169) . The present writer dates Turner sketches at Gordale to Thursday 25 July 1816, when Mrs Fawkes recorded in her diary that she together with her husband Walter Fawkes and their family accompanied Turner to the falls. This was Turner’s last day in the company of the Fawkes party. Later that day Mrs Fawkes recorded that Turner ‘went on a sketching tour’ and that the weather was ‘heavy rain’ (see Introduction to the sketchbook).

David Hill
May 2009

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