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This sketch relates to Turner’s oil painting The Seat of William Moffatt Esq., at Mortlake. Early (Summer’s) Morning, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1826 (Frick Collection, New York).1 As noted in the Introduction to the present subsection, this is one of four drawings which are supplementary or complementary to studies in the Mortlake and Pulborough sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXIII), probably in use at Mortlake in 1825. The direct source for Early (Summer’s) Morning is a double-page Mortlake and Pulborough sketch (Tate D18724–D18725; Turner Bequest CCXIII 10a–11) and the juxtaposition of the tree trunks in the latter is followed very closely in the painting.
The spacing and details of the trees in the present view suggest it was drawn independently, and it is close to another, slighter study in the sketchbook (Tate D18772; Turner Bequest CCXIII 43a); possibly the two were made on the same occasion, on a return visit.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.144–5 no.235, pl.236 (colour).
Finberg describes the work as in ‘Pencil and white chalk on grey’ paper,1 but in common with the other three separate Mortlake studies (Tate D25516, D25517, D34018; Turner Bequest CCLXIII a 1, 2, CCCXLI 299) the paper appears merely off-white, presumably through age, with brown mottling. There is now no obvious evidence of the white chalk he mentions.
The edges are all slightly irregular. There is a shallow diagonal crease at the top right, in common with D25516 (compare also the top left of D34018), which may also relate in some way to the loss of about the same size at the top left of D25517, suggesting that the four sheets were at least initially kept together.
Finberg 1909, II, p.845.
Blank (laid down).