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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Harvest Scene; Wagon and Reapers 1807

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Harvest Scene; Wagon and Reapers 1807
Turner Bequest CXX G
Pencil, pen and ink and wash on white laid paper, 184 x 230mm
Watermark: top part of an ornamented post horn
Stamped in black ‘CXX G’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This was originally drawn on the same sheet as Study for ‘Harvest Home’ (Tate D08216; Turner Bequest CXX C) and Study for ‘Cassiobury Park; Reaping’ (Tate D08217; Turner Bequest CXX D); the top edge aligns with that of D08217 and the post horn watermark is split between the two portions. Finberg thought this drawing might be a ‘design for a “Liber” subject’, referring to Turner’s manual of landscape types, the Liber Studiorum. However the freely drawn and brushed technique and harvesting subject matter is clearly related to the reaping scene, one of two studies for unfinished oils of the harvest at Lord Essex’s Hertforshire estate, Cassiobury Park;1 see catalogue entry for D08216 for background and the possible reasons for Turner having abandoned the pictures. The composition is probably based on the on-the-spot sketch of a wagon and figures in a landscape on folio 54 of the River sketchbook (Tate D06028; Turner Bequest XCVI 53), which was used at Cassiobury. The present drawing also formed the basis of an oil, hitherto known as Gipsy Camp but also a harvest scene with wagon and reapers and perhaps a variant Cassiobury subject (Tate N03048),2 which indeed Butlin and Joll compared to the painted version of Cassiobury Park; Reaping though they were unaware of its connection with this related drawing. The oil is either a sketch or unfinished, and is of upright format, either because the drawn composition was deliberately condensed or because the support, an oak panel, has been cut down.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.128, nos.209, 209a (pls.208, 209).
Ibid., pp.125–6, no.203 (pl.202).
Technical notes:
For the paper and its maker William Allee see Tate D08216; Turner Bequest CXX C. The drawing is faded from exposure.

David Blayney Brown
December 2009

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Harvest Scene; Wagon and Reapers 1807 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-harvest-scene-wagon-and-reapers-r1133610, accessed 10 October 2015.