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Here Turner has drawn a prospect of Kirkstall Abbey, a ruined Cistercian monastery in West Yorkshire, from a south-easterly vantage point atop Kirkstall Hill. Turner and his close friend and contemporary Thomas Girtin (1775–1802) had previously pictured the Abbey from the same viewpoint in 1797 and 1800 respectively (see Tate D00921; Turner Bequest XXXIV 15 and The British Museum).1 The town of Kirkstall is rendered in the foreground at left and the River Aire can be seen meandering through the picturesque valley at centre. There is a separate and slight view of the valley above the main sketch.
Thomas Girtin, Kirkstall Abbey, Yorkshire, 1800, watercolour on paper, British Museum, London; see: http://www
.britishmuseum .org /explore /highlights /highlight_objects /pd /t /thomas_girtin,_kirkstall_abbey.aspx
For more information see Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Kirkstall Abbey, on the River Aire 1824 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, August 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-kirkstall-abbey-on-the-river-aire-r1146210.