Joseph Mallord William Turner

Group of Peasants


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

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 198 x 163 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXVIII 18

Catalogue entry

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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