Joseph Mallord William Turner

Harvest Scene; Wagon and Reapers

1807

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Ink wash and pen and ink on paper
Dimensions
Support: 184 x 230 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D08220
Turner Bequest CXX G

Catalogue entry

This was originally drawn on the same sheet as Study for ‘Harvest Home’ (Tate D08216; Turner Bequest CXX C) and Study for ‘Cassiobury Park; Reaping’ (Tate D08217; Turner Bequest CXX D); the top edge aligns with that of D08217 and the post horn watermark is split between the two portions. Finberg thought this drawing might be a ‘design for a “Liber” subject’, referring to Turner’s manual of landscape types, the Liber Studiorum. However the freely drawn and brushed technique and harvesting subject matter is clearly related to the reaping scene, one of two studies for unfinished oils of the harvest at Lord Essex’s Hertforshire estate, Cassiobury Park;1 see catalogue entry for D08216 for background and the possible reasons for Turner having abandoned the pictures. The composition is probably based on the on-the-spot sketch of a wagon and figures in a landscape on folio 54 of the River sketchbook (Tate D06028; Turner Bequest XCVI 53), which was used at Cassiobury. The present drawing also formed the basis of an oil, hitherto known as Gipsy Camp but also a harvest scene with wagon and reapers and perhaps a variant Cassiobury subject (Tate N03048),2 which indeed Butlin and Joll compared to the painted version of Cassiobury Park; Reaping though they were unaware of its connection with this related drawing. The oil is either a sketch or unfinished, and is of upright format, either because the drawn composition was deliberately condensed or because the support, an oak panel, has been cut down.
1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.128, nos.209, 209a (pls.208, 209).
2
Ibid., pp.125–6, no.203 (pl.202).
Verso:
Blank
Technical notes:
For the paper and its maker William Allee see Tate D08216; Turner Bequest CXX C. The drawing is faded from exposure.

David Blayney Brown
December 2009

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