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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Two Girls Carrying a Pail of Water 1831

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Inside Back Cover:
Two Girls Carrying a Pail of Water 1831
Turner Bequest
Pencil on off-white wove paper, 163 x 104 mm
Inscribed in pencil by Turner ‘2 Girls carrying a pail of water’ top
Inscribed in brown ink ‘9/1’ bottom left
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The sketches on the inside back cover of this book could have been made at any time during the period of its use, as Turner tended to use the inside covers of his sketchbooks when he was quickly grasping for paper to note down a scene that struck him as interesting. This period covers the final leg of Turner’s Scottish tour from Inverness to Evanton, Elgin, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
As Turner has noted, these two sketches both depict ‘2 Girls carrying a pail of water’. The first view at the top left of the page shows the girls from the side, while the sketch beneath shows them from behind, each holding the same pail with two hands. Turner was often interested in recording not only places, but also the daily life of the people that inhabited those places, and a domestic scene such as this may have struck him as being of potential use for a picture, or simply as a charming scene worth committing to paper.
At the bottom right corner of the page is a paper label that reads: ‘D MORRISON & Co. | Bookseller Stationers | & Bookbinders | INVERNESS’. It is upside down, indicating that this was considered by the bookseller to be the first page of the sketchbook, though Turner actually began sketching at the other end. The artist must have purchased this sketchbook in Inverness where he made his first sketches (see Inverness sketchbook Introduction for further information).

Thomas Ardill
May 2010

How to cite

Thomas Ardill, ‘Two Girls Carrying a Pail of Water 1831 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2010, 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-two-girls-carrying-a-pail-of-water-r1135593, accessed 22 June 2018.