Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study: Landscape, with Distant Tower on Hill

1831

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 59 x 96 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25749
Turner Bequest CCLXV 59 a

Catalogue entry

Rather than an on-the-spot sketch like the majority of folios in this book, the present page contains what is more likely to be a composition study. Like the studies for A Tempest – Voyage of Columbus on folios 29 verso and 30 of this sketchbook (D25694, D25695), this drawing is characterised by a much heavier pencil line with more shading than the sketches made on tour. The details of the landscape and objects in the picture therefore lack clarity, but a sense of how a finished picture may look is suggested by the use of chiaroscuro and by relating the picture to the format of the page, rather than just sketching in the space available.
The scene shows a landscape with a view between trees along a path. There is a square building in the centre of the picture and a castle or ruins on a hillside in the distance. The composition has a Claudian character with the framing trees and with the division of distance into planes. It may be loosely based on a picture by Claude Lorrain (circa 1600–1682) or another artist. Two similar-looking studies in the Rokeby and Appleby sketchbook (Tate D25633; Turner Bequest CCLXIV 58) which also have a Claudian precedent may be linked to this drawing.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

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