View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
During his visits to Farnley Hall, the Yorkshire home of his friend Walter Fawkes, Turner was drawn into the family's interest in ornithology. He contributed a group of twenty watercolour bird portraits to a series
of illustrative albums compiled for the library at Farnley. These contained documentation as well as examples
of the plumage of each species.
This study arises from a similar
interest in natural history. It is one of
a pair of studies in which Turner sought
to capture the motion of a bird as it
began or ended its flight.
Gallery label, August 2004