Joseph Mallord William Turner

Windsor Castle from Salt Hill (‘Sheep-Washing, Windsor’)


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

Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 227 x 316 mm
Bequeathed by Henry Vaughan 1900
Turner Bequest CXVIII Q

Catalogue entry

Henry Vaughan by 1878
(see main catalogue entry)
Turner’s drawing, engraved but not published in the Liber Studiorum, shows Windsor Castle from Salt Hill, Slough, a couple of miles to the north. It relates to an 1818 visit to the Fourth of June commemoration at nearby Eton College (see the Skies sketchbook: Tate D12517–D12520; CLVIII 64a–65, 65a–66) with the family of his friend and patron Walter Fawkes, whose sons were then at the school; Mrs Fawkes’s diary notes: ‘Thursday, 4th June. Went to Eton to see the boat-race. Dined and slept at Salt Hill. Little Turner came with us.’1 The immediate source for the Liber design is a rapid but closely-observed pencil study including the sheep and shepherds in the Skies sketchbook (Tate D12513; Turner Bequest CLVIII 62a); there is are similar views, the second apparently populated by sightseers, on preceding pages (D12509, D12511; CLVIII 60a, 61a), and a further study of sheep-washing (D12515; CLVIII 63a).
Turner had made many studies of Windsor (already an established tourist attraction) while living down the Thames at Isleworth in 1805,2 including an oil from Salt Hill of the castle flanked by trees (Tate N02312),3 to which he may have referred for its silhouette; the general similarities in mood and composition in the present drawing to works of more than a decade earlier have been noted.4 A second Windsor sheep subject, derived from a painting of about 1805 and more in line with published ‘EP’ subjects (probably ‘Elevated Pastoral’ – see general Liber introduction), is among the Liber-type drawings which were not engraved (Tate D08185; Turner Bequest CXVIII e). Gillian Forrester has suggested that Turner could have had the two contrasting designs in mind as potential pendants in two categories, with the present, more workaday treatment – the castle only a distant presence – as a Pastoral subject; the unpublished Liber plate of a nearby location, Ploughing, Eton (see Tate D08174; Vaughan Bequest CXVIII T), shows ‘a similar juxtaposition’.5
Finberg 1912, p.10; Finberg 1961, pp.252–3.
See David Hill, Turner on the Thames: River Journeys in the Year 1805, New Haven and London 1993, pp.63–75.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.121 no.177 pl.177 (colour).
See Andrew Wilton, in Wilton and Turner 1990, p.146
Forrester 1996, p.137 and note 10.
Ibid., pp.161–3 (transcribed).
Ibid., p.163 (transcribed).
Ibid., p.160 (transcribed).
Rawlinson 1878, pp.144–69; 1906, pp.169–96; Finberg 1924, pp.287–365.
Finberg 1924, p.298 no.74 (g); Forrester 1996, p.137 note 12.
Hardie 1938, p.55 no.19, reproduced p.[87] pl.IV B.
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986 – 88, London 1996, p.74, reproduced.
Rawlinson 1878, p.147.
Cook and Wedderburn XV 1904, pp.94–6, with detail of lower left of Liber etching reproduced p.95, fig.20.
Joyce Townsend, circa 1995, Tate conservation files.
Frank Short in [John Ward] [1890], p.21.

Matthew Imms
May 2006

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