Joseph Mallord William TurnerGroup of Peasants 1802

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Artwork details

Group of Peasants
From Swiss Figures Sketchbook
Turner Bequest LXXVIII
Date 1802
MediumGraphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensionssupport: 198 x 163 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXVIII 18
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 18 Recto:
Group of Peasants 1802
Turner Bequest LXXVIII 18
Pencil and watercolour on white laid paper, 198 x 163 mm
Inscribed by an early hand in pencil ‘18’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
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 17, showing a similar subject (D04814). As ‘Studies of Swiss Costume’ they were wrongly placed in the display devoted to works of Turner’s ‘Third Period, from about 1823’. While the present leaf was later rebound in its correct position, folio 17 was reversed with its original recto facing it. 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 shows four figures, three of whom are men; two wear cockaded hats and one has a rifle slung over his shoulder.

David Blayney Brown
April 2003

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