Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 17 Verso:
Group of Peasants 1802
Turner Bequest LXXVIII 17
Turner Bequest LXXVIII 17
Pencil and watercolour on white laid paper, 198 x 163 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
National Gallery (and Marlborough House), London, various dates until 1904 (580a).
Watercolours from the Turner Bequest, Tate Gallery, London, April–October 1987 (no number).
Turner and the Human Figure: Studies of Contemporary Life, Tate Gallery, London, April–July 1989 (70 reproduced).
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.I, p.210, LXXVIII 17.
David Hill, Turner in the Alps: The Journey through France and Switzerland in 1802, London 1992, pp.104 reproduced in colour, 169.
Inge Herold, Turner on Tour, Munich and New York 1997, p.26 reproduced.
David Blayney Brown, Turner in the Tate Collection, London 2002, p.65 reproduced in colour.
Joanna Selborne, Paths to Fame: Turner Watercolours from the Courtauld Gallery, exhibition catalogue, The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere 2008, p.73 note 10.
Some time in 1857, Ruskin removed this leaf from the sketchbook to exhibit the drawing at Marlborough House and then at the National Gallery, together with folio 18 (D04816). As ‘Studies of Swiss Costume’ they were wrongly placed in the display devoted to works of Turner’s ‘Third Period, from about 1823’. The sketchbook was subsequently rebound with this leaf reversed, the original recto becoming the verso as currently described, and facing folio 18. When exhibited or reproduced together since, the two drawings, similar in character and finish and with similar but not contiguous ruled lines in pencil, have appeared as if they were a single subject on a double-spread, though originally they were not. This study, of six figures, is slightly more finished and uses a wider range of watercolour, including a bright yellow not present in the other study.
Selborne notes the presence of a girl in a white blouse and skirt and red bodice similar to those depicted here in Turner’s watercolour Bonneville, Savoy painted in 1817 (on the London art market in 2007).1 There is also a similar figure and costume in the perhaps rather earlier watercolour View from the Castle of St Michael, Bonneville, Savoy (also on the London art market in 2007).2
Recto (formerly bound as Verso):
Blank, save for a brush-mark in red wash and splashes of blue-grey and brownish washes; and inscribed probably by John Ruskin, in red ink at left lower corner ‘157’. A further inscription in pencil ‘LXXVIII 17’ has been erased
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