Joseph Mallord William Turner

Studies of a Boat and Cows: ?for ‘Abingdon’


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

Pen and ink on paper
Support: 171 x 262 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCIII 21 a

Catalogue entry

Turner has drawn lines dividing this leaf into quarters and used the top two for variants of a composition of a boat and cows, the one at left looking into the sun. As Finberg recognised, these bear comparison with Abingdon (Tate N00485), the picture formerly identified with the Dorchester Mead, Oxfordshire exhibited at Turner’s Gallery in 18101 but in fact a different work probably shown there in 1806 or 1807, as proposed by Hill.2 Hill believes the two drawings show that Turner took the sketchbook on a trip up the Thames but the alternative treatments suggest studio rather than nature studies, and perhaps Turner was reviewing the composition of his on-the-spot sketches around Abingdon in the Hesperides (2) sketchbook, including one more closely related to the picture (Tate D05850; Turner Bequest XCIV 4 verso).3

David Blayney Brown
October 2007

Butlin and Joll 1984, p.77 no.107 (pl.114).
Hill 1993, pp.136–9.
See catalogue note for further discussion of the change of title for the picture.

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