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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Groups of Figures around a Barrel of Ale, with Various Other Figures c.1807-10

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 5 Recto:
Groups of Figures around a Barrel of Ale, with Various Other Figures circa 1807–10
Turner Bequest LXXXVI 5
Pencil and pen and ink on white wove paper, 258 x 370 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘5’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘LXXXVI 5’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
These studies relate to Turner’s unfinished painting Harvest Home (Tate N00562).1 The figures around a barrel are connected with those to left of centre in the picture, who include a Scotsman and a Scottish boy. As also noted in the catalogue entry for the separate composition study for Harvest Home (Tate D08216; Turner Bequest CXX C), in the oil they must be intended to refer to David Wilkie, the first being a quotation from Wilkie’s picture The Blind Fiddler (Tate N00099) and the second alluding to Wilkie’s inclusion of himself in his picture as a boy. Other figure studies on this leaf include the black servant also drawn on folio 4 verso of the sketchbook (D05355); see catalogue entry and Introduction to the sketchbook for this figure’s possible origin and connection with Wilkie’s The Village Holiday (Tate N00122). The studies on this leaf were evidently first drawn from life in pencil, but the group around the barrel has re-workings in ink, added later as Turner revised the material for his picture.

David Blayney Brown
December 2009

Butlin and Joll 1984, p.128 no.209 (pl.208).

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Groups of Figures around a Barrel of Ale, with Various Other Figures c.1807–10 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 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-groups-of-figures-around-a-barrel-of-ale-with-various-other-r1133586, accessed 22 May 2018.