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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The Ruins of Cliveden House 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 19 Recto:
The Ruins of Cliveden House 1805
Turner Bequest XCIV 19
Pen and ink on white wove paper, prepared with a grey wash, 143 x 228 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘19’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘XCIV 19’ bottom left, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg’s ‘classical’ description perhaps derived from a resemblance to an aqueduct. However this sketch and a similar, of the same subject from another angle, on folio 20 (D05872) were made on the spot (20 seems to be smudged with rain drops) and depict the former Cliveden House, in its wooded setting above the Thames near Maidenhead. Closely associated with the poet James Thomson whose works were performed there for the Duke of Buckingham, it was destroyed by fire in 1795. Turner also drew the ruins, with their massive arches, in the contemporary Thames from Reading to Walton sketchbook (Tate D05936; Turner Bequest XCV 32). During a boat trip up the Thames, Turner seems to have moored at evening or overnight upstream from Boulter’s Lock at Cliveden Reach. He painted an oil sketch (Tate N02707)1 looking towards Cliveden at sunset, with bargemen settling down for the night and cooking supper over a fire. The drawings would have been made after walking up the wooded hill to the ruins, beforehand or the following morning.
There are splashes of blue and green watercolour on this leaf.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, New Haven and London, revised ed.1984, p.118, no.168, as ‘Barges on the River, Sunset’. The subject is identified by Hill 1993, pp.98–9

David Blayney Brown
December 2007

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘The Ruins of Cliveden House 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2007, 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-the-ruins-of-cliveden-house-r1130094, accessed 16 December 2017.