Joseph Mallord William TurnerRoad Through a Wood 1831

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Artwork details

Road Through a Wood
From Abbotsford Sketchbook
Turner Bequest CCLXVII
Date 1831
MediumGraphite on paper
Dimensionssupport: 113 x 185 mm
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXVII 82 a
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Catalogue entry

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 80 Verso:
Road Through a Wood 1831
Turner Bequest CCLXVII 82a
Pencil on off-white wove writing paper, 113 x 185 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ‘Pi grass’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg’s inventory muddles up the present page with folio 81 verso (D26074; CCLXVII 83), and as a result this page has occasionally been cited instead of that one. However, the drawing on that page, Bemerside Hall, does continue slightly onto the left of this page. The present page also contains at the top left a tiny sketch of the sundial that Turner included in his watercolour of Bemerside Tower circa 1832 (private collection),1 engraved as the title-page vignette to Sir Tristrem, the fifth volume of Sir Walter Scott’s Poetical Works.
The ‘road through the woods’ that Finberg describes (separated from the continuation of the Bemerside sketch by a vertical line) may be a wooded area near Bemerside, or perhaps a similar place on the Abbotsford Estate such as Rhymer’s Glen (see folio 4 verso; Tate D25934; CCLXVII 4a). Standing by the side of the road are two figures who may be Scott and his publisher Robert Cadell, or perhaps Mrs Lockhart and Miss Scott who accompanied Turner to Rhymer’s Glen. However, the inscriptions beneath the figures, ‘pi[gs]’ and ‘grass’, suggest that these may be more rustic figures.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.428 no.1079.

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