Joseph Mallord William Turner
Hills and Trees: ?A Paper Test c.1820–30

Artwork details

Hills and Trees: ?A Paper Test
Date c.1820–30
Medium Watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 265 x 222 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 297
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

The methodical distribution of colours in this drawing suggests it was a paper test sheet. Turner constantly acquired paper and the gauging of its absorbency, resistance to colours and surface strength must have been a necessary preliminary to its use. Here perhaps Turner was loath just to test dabs of colour unrelated to any imagery, and so he created an improvisatory but fragmented composition.

September 2004

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