Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Building on a Wooded Hillside, Perhaps Park Place, near Henley-on-Thames


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 69 × 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXII 20 a

Catalogue entry

This slight sketch, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, bears some resemblance to the detailed view of the country house Park Place in its wooded hillside setting in the 1805 Thames, from Reading to Walton sketchbook (Tate D05930; Turner Bequest XCV 26). There is a view of Henley-on-Thames, just across the river, on folio 6 verso (D08292) and other Thames Valley subjects in this sketchbook (see the Introduction).
Finberg’s suggestion of the Lowther Castle, Cumbria, as the subject here appears visually and topographically unlikely. For comparison, studies of the castle made in 1809 include architectural details in the Lowther sketchbook (Tate D07892, D07893; Turner Bequest CXIII 25, 26), an unfinished watercolour1 and two pencil drawings2 in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts. These informed a pair of paintings exhibited in 1810 (Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle; private collection).3 As it happens, there is a note relating to payment for the two paintings on the sheet of financial notes associated with this sketchbook (D08359; Turner Bequest CXXII (4)).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.359 no.524, reproduced; Luke Herrmann, Ruskin and Turner: A Study of Ruskin as a Collector of Turner, Based on his Gifts to the University of Oxford; Incorporating a Catalogue Raisonné of the Turner Drawings in the Ashmolean Museum, London 1968, pp.91–2 no.72, pl.XV.
Herrmann 1968, p.92 nos.73 and 74, pls.XLVA and XLVB respectively.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, respectively pp.78–9 no.111, pl.116, and p.79 no.112, pl.117.
Technical notes:
The surface is rather rubbed and spotted.

Matthew Imms
September 2013

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