View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms
Turner has rendered this placid scene with layered applications of translucent golden yellow and blue. The river, flowing towards the sea beyond, is in the immediate foreground, suggested with minimal zigzagging strokes of pale blue wash. Its banks are marked out summarily in layered shades of yellow-brown heightened with flecks and fine streaks of red and blue. The brushwork is vigorous, in places resisting the textured grain of the paper. The band of blue representing the sea has feathered slightly, producing a diffused and shimmering effect. The faintest pencil suggestion of what appears to be a headland can be seen on the horizon at the right. Similar markings are on the left close to the gutter of the sketchbook.
If the Turner scholar Ian Warrell is correct in his proposal that the drawings in the Ports of England sketchbook depict views of Dover and the Kentish ports of Folkestone and Portsmouth, the river depicted here could be the Dour which flows into Dover harbour or tributaries of the Stour or Medway.1
Ian Warrell, Turner: The Fourth Decade: Watercolours 1820–1830, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1991, p.35, no.17.
Inscribed in pencil ‘CCII–I’.
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Attributed to Joseph Mallord William Turner A Riverside Scene in the Country
date not known