Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Washburn from below Lake Tiny, Farnley Hall, Looking to Leathley Church and Wharfedale

c.1816–18

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

Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 215 x 260 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D12105
Turner Bequest CLIV G

Catalogue entry

This is one of three similarly-sized sketches (with D12106, D12107; Turner Bequest CLIV H, I) made on ‘Bristol Paper’1 and recording subjects in the Washburn Valley near Farnley Hall, the Yorkshire home of Turner’s patron Walter Fawkes, and presumably all made on the same visit. Peter Bower suggests that the three are rough quarters of a single sheet, originally approximately 394 x 520 mm. Bower also points out that such material was only rarely used for sketching by Turner, and he speculates that it was obtained from Farnley Hall.2 Presumably the three sketches were all made on the same visit, and given the proximity of subjects, probably on the same excursion.
This sketch records the view from a path that once led from Lake Tiny near Farnley Hall, down to the River Washburn, with a figure by the river below left, and Leathley Church in the left mid-distance. The footpath led towards the rustic summer house called the Pheasant’s (or ‘Peasant’s’) Nest, the subject of another sketch in this miscellany (Tate D12106; Turner Bequest CLIV H), but in this view it lies hidden a little further downstream.
In the Inventory Finberg added that ‘A drawing based on this sketch was in Christie’s 1906, and at Agnew’s Water Colour Exhibition 1907, as ‘Washburne Valley” (42). It was in black and white chalk on brown paper with a commencement of body colour.’ This can be identified as Valley of the Washburn with Leathley Church (private collection),3 one of a series of forty so-called ‘sketches’ involving gouache made for Fawkes around 1816–18. In it Turner made a number of alterations to the composition, for example, bringing the church tower up above the horizon line in order to make it more prominent.
D12107 records similar material, but from a lower and slightly more distant viewpoint.
1
Bristol Paper is a laminate of two or more sheets of paper, with a highly glazed finish, named after the Earl of Bristol; see Bower 1990, p.108.
2
Bower 1990, p.109.
3
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, London 1979, p.372 no.620, where dated c.1818
Verso:
Laid down.

David Hill
July 2009

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