Joseph Mallord William Turner

Mayburgh and King Arthur’s Round Table, Penrith; St John’s in the Vale, Keswick; Yanwath Hall, Penrith; and a Sketch

1831

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 267 x 213 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D40300

Catalogue entry

This sheet contains several sketches. The topmost register is a schematic representation of the relationship between King Arthur’s Round Table and Mayburgh Henge, the two henge monuments at Eamont Bridge near Penrith.
Below this to the right is a quick sketch of ‘St John’s’ Vale (St John’s in the Vale) near Keswick, and below that another sketch of the same site, but from a lower viewpoint, more in the vale. The sketch is partly obscured at the left by the grubbiness of the page at that point, but also by the top left quarter having been used by Turner as an impromptu palette at some stage. The inscription ‘St John’, below, relates to this sketch.
In the fourth register to the left is a more distant view of King Arthur’s Round Table and Brougham Hall with Penrith Beacon in the distance, probably showing similar material to the sketch in the top register, but from a different point of view.
In the fourth register to the right, inscribed ‘2’, is a close up view of Mayburgh with Penrith Beacon in the background, not dissimilar to the watercolour engraved for Scott’s Poetical works: Mayburgh circa 1832 (whereabouts unknown).1
In the fifth register are two schematic cross-sections of the earthworks; that on the left showing the banks, ditches and central dais of King Arthur’s Round Table, and on the right a cross-section of the banks and central standing stone of Mayburgh.
In the bottom register left is a sketch of Yanwath Hall, about one kilometre to the west of Mayburgh.
In the bottom register right is a rough sketch map of the Junction of the ‘Greta’ and the ‘Tees’, sketched on the recto.

David Hill
July 2009

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.429 no.1091.

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