Joseph Mallord William Turner

View of the Thames from Richmond Hill

1794–5

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

Medium
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 144 x 213 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D00672
Turner Bequest XXVII K

Catalogue entry

This is an unfinished study, though painted to fill a rectangle to which the sheet has been roughly trimmed. A finished watercolour of this subject was with Agnew’s, London, in 1982 and is now in a private collection. Turner was to make this view very much his own in a series of watercolours and oil paintings executed at different times in his career. The most notable are the large oil painting exhibited in 1819, England: Richmond Hill, on the Prince Regent’s Birthday (Tate N00502)1 and the watercolour for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales of Richmond Terrace, Surrey (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool).2
Turner celebrated the area because several men he admired had lived there: Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723–1792) on the Terrace, close to Turner’s viewpoint here, and James Thomson (1700–1748), the poet of The Seasons, nearby. Another Augustan poet, Alexander Pope (1688–1744), lived at Twickenham, and Turner too was to build himself a house there, Sandycombe Lodge, among the trees on the left bank of the Thames, to the right of this composition (see the section in the present catalogue on Turner’s designs for the house, c.1808–12).
1
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.106–7 no.140, pl.145 (colour).
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.403 no.879, reproduced.
Technical notes:
The sheet is affected by prominent oil stains.
Verso:
Oil stains and smears of blue watercolour and oil paint; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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