Turner had made drawings at Hampton Court during his tour of South Wales in 1795; see the South Wales sketchbook (Tate D00603–D00607; Turner Bequest XXVI 49–53). These had served as the basis for a series of views of the house and grounds executed shortly after the tour (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester;1 Victoria and Albert Museum, London2); but see folio 102 recto (D01321; Turner Bequest XXXVIII 67). He revisited Hampton Court in 1798 at the prompting of Sir Richard Colt Hoare, who wanted views of the house for his projected History of Wiltshire. Turner made two sketches, on this and the following page, together with a detail of the south front in the Dynevor Castle sketchbook (Tate D01595; Turner Bequest XL 78a).
A watercolour, now very faded, based on the present drawing was sold at Sotheby’s, London, on 14 March 1985 (61), and subsequently at Sotheby’s, New York, in January 2010 (105). The two small watercolours he eventually produced for Colt Hoare (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven)3 were in fact based on drawings made in 1795.
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Earl of Essex’; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.