See Introduction to the sketchbook for Turner’s visit to Tabley in 1808 and commission to paint a pair of pictures of the house and grounds for Sir John Leicester. This view, continued slightly on folio 24 verso (D06845; Turner Bequest CIII 15a), shows the house from across the lake or Moat with yachts, rowing boats and men fishing. It was the basis of the oil sketch also from the sketchbook (D06848; Turner Bequest CIII 18), which was probably posted to Sir John for his approval. In both, Turner omitted the water tower which he perhaps thought unpicturesque and Sir John, who had built it, presumably ordered its inclusion in the otherwise-similar picture, Tabley, Cheshire, the Seat of Sir J.F. Leicester, Bart: Calm Morning (Tate T03878; displayed at Petworth House),1 exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1809.
Sir John’s fleet of yachts for ‘aquatic parties’ and Turner’s fondness for fishing on the lake at Tabley, allegedly to the exclusion of painting, are also discussed in the Introduction.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.70–1 no.99 (pl.107).