Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 29 Verso:
Study for ‘Windsor Castle from the Thames’ 1805
Turner Bequest XC 29a
Turner Bequest XC 29a
Pen and ink and watercolour with some scratching out, on off-white wove paper, prepared with a grey wash, 150 x 258 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.1, p.235, XC 29a.
Graham Reynolds, Turner, London 1969, p.71 reproduced pl.50, 212.
Gerald Wilkinson, The Sketches of Turner, R.A. 1802–20: Genius of the Romantic, London 1974, pp.106, 108 reproduced in colour.
Luke Herrmann, Turner: Paintings, Watercolours, Drawings and Prints, London 1975, pp.95 reproduced pl.46, 228.
Evelyn Joll and Martin Butlin, L’opera completa di Turner 1793–1829, Milan 1982, p.81.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.113, 118.
Martin Butlin, Mollie Luther and Ian Warrell, Turner at Petworth: Painter and Patron, London 1989, p.26.
David Hill, Turner on the Thames: River Journeys in the Year 1805, New Haven and London 1993, pp.132 reproduced in colour pl.191, 133,161.
Gillian Forrester, Turner’s ‘Drawing Book’: The Liber Studiorum, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1996, pp.136, 137 note 3.
Drawn with the sketchbook inverted. As Finberg was the first to observe, this is a study for Windsor Castle from the Thames of circa 1805 (Tate T03870; displayed at Petworth House).1 A sketch loosely related to some of its details of boats and animals is on folio 28 verso of the sketchbook (D05530).
Turner developed this colour study from pencil sketches in the Wey, Guildford sketchbook (Tate D06349–D06350; Turner Bequest XCVIII 132–132a), taken from just below Romney Lock. In doing so, as Hill describes,2 he simplified the foreground, showing an unbroken expanse of river and adding boats, figures and sheep watering, all features that he retained in the picture. Unusually, Turner added the location ‘ISLEWORTH’ to his signature on the picture, which must mean that he painted it there, at Sion (or Syon) Ferry House and working from this study. The brilliant sunshine illuminating the castle must have been a happy exception to the generally poor weather during the early summer of 1805. Butlin and Joll discuss the likely date of the oil and correct the later dating attached by Finberg in the mistaken belief that the sketchbook itself belonged to 1811–12; see Introduction for further discussion.
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