Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study of Fonthill Abbey Rising above Woods

1799

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Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 130 x 79 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D02153
Turner Bequest XLVI 107

Catalogue entry

This rough sketch is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. A large coloured version of this composition is Tate D04167 (Turner Bequest LXX P). The upright format was not adopted by Turner for any of the five finished watercolour views he made for William Beckford, though another coloured study with a similar composition is in the Fonthill sketchbook (Tate D02187; Turner Bequest XLVII 10). That indicates that the view is from the south-west, which may therefore be the orientation of this view too. All these studies were no doubt preparatory for the South-west view of a Gothic Abbey now building at Fonthill, the seat of W. Beckford Esq. (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto)1 that Turner exhibited in at the Royal Academy in 1800.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.338 no.336, reproduced.

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