Joseph Mallord William Turner

Trees by the Thames; ?Sutton Courtenay


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 143 x 228 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCIV 35 a

Catalogue entry

Hill further comments: ‘Scrappy enough to wonder why Turner made it.’ However, the view seems to be related to another on folio 37 verso (D05893), showing the same group of larger trees and pollarded willow at the centre but extended further to the right. If also compared to 36 verso (D05891), which perhaps follows the river still further to the right, rounded marks on the horizon at right would represent Wittenham Clumps. Probably these quick sketches were made in the course of a walk along the same short stretch of riverbank, or perhaps from a boat. They fall within a group made probably between Clifton Hampden (see 34 verso and inside back cover, D05887, D40637) and Sutton Courtenay (folio 38 verso, D05895). Hill suggests 37 verso is possibly at Sutton Courtenay and links it with the contemporary, unfinished oil Washing Sheep (Tate N02699);1 this is surely correct, although elsewhere, while noting the presence of Wittenham Clumps in the background, he suggests the oil depicts scenery near Dorchester. A location on the River Wey had formerly been suggested for the oil.2

David Blayney Brown
December 2007

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.119 no.173 (pl.173).
Letter from Christopher Pinsent, 2 March 1970, cited ibid.

Read full Catalogue entry

You might like