J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Church and Village seen from a Riverside Footpath: ?Benson 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
A Church and Village seen from a Riverside Footpath: ?Benson 1805
Turner Bequest XCV 13
Pencil and watercolour with scratching out on white wove paper, 259 x 371 mm
Stamped in black ‘XCV 13’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This was a left-hand page from the sketchbook. Finberg’s suggested subject was presumably based on comparison with the drawing of Benson from the sketchbook which he listed next as his ‘page 14’ (Tate D05918; Turner Bequest XCV 14), and also perhaps on the form of the church tower which is similar to Benson’s. While retaining Finberg’s title, Upstone states that ‘Wallingford church rises against the skyline’ and that a large building, perhaps a ruin, to its left is Wallingford Castle. However, neither of Wallingford’s churches have towers like this and the castle had been demolished two centuries earlier. Unconvinced by Finberg’s putative title, Hill lists the view as unidentified, but to the present writer it seems quite possible that it is taken from near the weir at Benson, with St Helen’s Church in the distance.
There are sluices and an eel trap on the river. Strong sunlight is indicated from the left and falls sharply on the posts of the sluice and wooden planks of a footbridge on the right, its glare indicated by leaving the white paper bare of wash.
Turner’s fingerprints are widely present here.
Blank. Inscribed in pencil ‘20’.

David Blayney Brown
February 2009

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘A Church and Village seen from a Riverside Footpath: ?Benson 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 2009, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-church-and-village-seen-from-a-riverside-footpath-benson-r1129948, accessed 23 May 2018.