Joseph Mallord William Turner Looking across Ullswater from Gowbarrow Park 1797

Artwork details

Artist
Title
Looking across Ullswater from Gowbarrow Park
From Tweed and Lakes Sketchbook
Turner Bequest XXXV
Date 1797
Medium Graphite on paper
Dimensions Support: 274 x 370 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D01044
Turner Bequest XXXV 42
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Catalogue entry

The subject was drawn with the page turned horizontally. The present author, followed by Turner scholar David Hill in 1980,1 suggested that the group of Ullswater studies on this page and folios 54 recto and 57 recto (D01042, D01045; Turner Bequest XXXV 40, 43) were all used by Turner as points of reference for his watercolour of the lake executed for Walter Fawkes in about 1815 (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester).2 In 1996, however, Hill concluded that the watercolour derived only from the present leaf. The drawing on this page is certainly the closest, but Turner no doubt referred to all his Ullswater studies in evolving the final image of the place. As Hill notes, the most prominent feature of the view was not visible when Turner drew it: St Sunday Crag is hidden by cloud. The hill to the left is Place Fell; Glenridding Dodd is on the right. Hill argues that the Fawkes watercolour may in fact have been worked up from a colour study perhaps made on the spot; this seems unlikely.
Turner referred to this drawing again in the 1830s when making a watercolour view of Ullswater for the series of Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere),3 engraved in 1835 (no Tate impression); there, the geography of the subject has been so altered as to be almost unrecognisable.
1
See Wilton 1979, p.363, and Hill 1980, p.57.
2
Wilton 1979, p.363 no.551, reproduced.
3
Ibid., p.400 no.860, reproduced.
Verso:
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram; inscribed by A.J. Finberg in pencil ‘141.42’.

Andrew Wilton
August 2010

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