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

Subjects Related to the Bristol and Malmesbury Tour 1791

Turner Bequest VII A–G
The Bristol and Malmesbury sketchbook that Turner took with him on his stay with the Narraway family in Bristol in 1791 (Tate; Turner Bequest VI) was filled with carefully drawn, sometimes highly finished, views in pencil and watercolour, intended as models on which finished compositions for sale, publication or exhibition might be based. The following group is made up of those finished drawings which were not sold or given away, together with further related studies, one of which Tate D00112 (Turner Bequest VII E), is probably a page from the book. The carefully inscribed title on the versos of Tate D00111 (Turner Bequest VII D) and other sheets is similar to the inscriptions in the sketchbook.
Several of the finished works were bought by his patrons and have remained outside the artist’s Bequest. A question arises as to whether Turner intended the more highly worked views in the sketchbook to stand as ‘finished’ subjects in their own right. If he was contemplating etching them himself, as suggested in the note to the sketchbook, he may not have considered it necessary to bring all the designs to a state of high finish. On the other hand, he will almost certainly have wished to capitalise on the trouble he had taken over them by making saleable drawings as well, as he did in the case of the upright view of Malmesbury1 derived from Tate D00110, D00111 (Turner Bequest VII C, VII D). This, like other finished views in the group, is in a larger format than the sketchbook. It is not necessarily the case that the views to which Turner gave titles, such as The Avon near Wallis’s Wall (Tate D00109; Turner Bequest VII B), were done during his stay in Bristol, but they are so close in manner to their counterparts in the book that it is likely they were executed at the Narraways’.
1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.303 no.25, reproduced.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

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How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Subjects Related to the Bristol and Malmesbury Tour 1791’, subset, April 2012, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/subjects-related-to-the-bristol-and-malmesbury-tour-r1140427, accessed 19 December 2014.