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This fine study, with its effect of sunrise, is based on Tate D01012 (Turner Bequest XXXV 9) in the Tweed and Lakes sketchbook, probably, as Turner scholar Selby Whittingham has suggested, in preparation for a finished watercolour (never executed?) for Robert Smirke.1 In 1980 Turner scholar David Hill dated it to about 1815 or later, though he amended this in 1996.2 The mistake reflects the prophetic quality of Turner’s work in Yorkshire this year; a similar ambiguity hovers over a large study of York (private collection),3 which has been variously dated to c.1800 and c.1816.4 Turner treated the Richmond subject again in a colour study for the Richmondshire series in about 1820 (Tate D17198; Turner Bequest CXCVII H).
There is a pencil drawing on the verso (D40190).
See entry for 8 July 1799 in Kenneth Garlick and Angus Macintyre eds., The Diary of Joseph Farington, vol.IV, New Haven and London 1979, p.1250.
See Hill and others 1980, p.31, and Hill 1996, pp.40, 41.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.330 no.275, reproduced.