Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Stonehenge

c.1827

Not on display
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 343 x 480 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25159
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 37

Catalogue entry

Along with Tate D25123 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 1), which definitely represents the subject, this colour study has been proposed by Andrew Wilton as relating to the watercolour of about 1827 (Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum),1 engraved as Stone Henge in 1829 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T04548, T04549, T06083).2 The identification of D25123 was largely facilitated by Turner’s inscription ‘Stonehenge no 1 [?XRS] 2 done’, since otherwise the only elaborations to the basic setting of Salisbury Plain below billowing clouds are a few pencil lines lightly indicating the stones of the ancient Wiltshire monument, and rough shapes prefiguring the sheep in the finished design. The present work lacks even these elements, leading Finberg to speculate that it shows a ‘river in mid-distance’, but can be associated with the subject by its similar sparse setting and colouring.
A detailed discussion of Turner’s Stonehenge sketches and subsequent works appears in this catalogue’s introduction to the Stonehenge sketchbook (Tate; CXXV b),3 used on his 1811 tour of the West Country.
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, pp.394–5 no.811, reproduced.
2
See Wilton 1975, p.66, Wilton 1979, p.395, and Shanes 1997, pp.95, 104.
3
See also Wilton 1975, p.66, and Wilton 1979, p.395.
Verso:
Blank (laid down and not examined).

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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