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Turner visited Mill Gill, near Askrigg in Wensleydale, during his 1816 tour of Yorkshire. Related sketches catalogued by David Hill, who identified the location of this sheet, are in the Yorkshire 2 sketchbook (Tate D11290, D11291; Turner Bequest CXLV 145 a–146) and the Yorkshire 5 sketchbook (Tate D11551, D11552; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 17 a–18), D11551 forming the basis of this lively colour study. Hill notes that in making the colour study Turner ‘drew back a little from the viewpoint of his sketch... to allow the mind’s eye to make its own exploration.’1
Hill dates this sheet to 1816 in line with Turner’s visit to the waterfall. Shanes too places the watercolour in the late 1810s, listing it in the category, ‘directly linked to further watercolour sketches and studies made in connection with Whitaker’s History of Richmondshire’.2 However, in the same publication Shanes notes the possibility that the sheet, which did not result in a finished watercolour or print for the Richmondshire project, could have been produced as late as the mid-1820s, pointing to the sometimes-uncertain relationship between the colour studies made in connection with the Richmondshire project and the later ones for England and Wales.3 The basis of the study in Turner’s 1816 tour of Yorkshire, made primarily with Whitaker’s project in mind, make a study for an unrealised subject for this project the likeliest function of this ‘colour beginning’.
See also the introduction to the Richmondshire ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this study has been assigned.
Blank, save for inscriptions: written in pencil ‘AB 9.3 P | 0’ bottom right; written in pencil ‘CCLXIII 133’ bottom right; stamped in black ‘CCLXIII-133’ bottom right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right.