Joseph Mallord William Turner

Trees beside Water, with a Castle in the Distance

c.1820–40

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

Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 178 x 242 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25407
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 284

Catalogue entry

Of this slight but evocative scene, with subtle ripples as a counterpoint to the dry vertical strokes as texture to the trees, Gerald Wilkinson has remarked: ‘Turner frequently explored in sketches the theme of a leaf-shadowed patch of water, presumably on a river. As a fisherman he would appreciate such places’.1 He gives A Silent Pool, a monochrome composition of about 1824 associated with the Liber Studiorum (Tate D08108; Turner Bequest CXVI G), as another example.2
Wilkinson observed that the ‘addition of a castle was perhaps an attempt to give currency to the rather shapeless, but valid, idea.’3 Eric Shanes has compared the present study with a ‘colour beginning’ in a private collection,4 traditionally described a view of Barnard Castle in County Durham,5 and associated with the untraced watercolour of about 1825 (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven),6 engraved in 1827 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T04517–T04518).
See also variations on the trees by water theme in the ‘Lowland and River Colour Studies c.1820–40’ section, and Tate D25345 and D25360 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 223, 238) in the present grouping.
1
Wilkinson 1975, p.104.
2
Ibid.
3
Ibid.
4
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.404 no.890, reproduced.
5
See Shanes 1997, p.93.
6
Wlton 1979, p.392 no.793, reproduced.
Verso:
Blank; a small abrasion near the centre may be a manufacturing fault. It is barely noticeable on the recto.

Matthew Imms
August 2016

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