Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Church among Trees above the Bend of a River

c.1820–40

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 193 × 282 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D34453
Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 96

Catalogue entry

This is one of six sketches on a single sheet (see the technical notes below) showing the landscape of a broad river valley with scattered buildings and distant hills, in the vicinity of a distinctive medieval church, with a spire flanked by pinnacles and a north transept with a stepped gable and more pinnacles (see also Tate D34449, D34452; Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 92, 95). The setting is unidentified but may be in the North of England or Lowland Scotland.
Finberg placed the sheet somewhat arbitrarily in a large ‘Miscellaneous: black and white’ grouping dated between about 1830 and 1841.1 It was presumably drawn directly during an unidentified tour, and is placed in the present section and given the widest date range assigned to other works here pending further investigation, although it could well be earlier.
The recto of this part of the sheet is Tate D34450 (Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 93).
1
See Finberg 1909, II, p.1116.
Technical notes:
D34449–D34453 (Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 92–96) share a single sheet, some 550 x 384 mm overall, which was folded into eighths. Each of the five (D34451 comprising two sketches) occupies two eighths in varying orientations except D34452, which is half the area. The present work is on the other side to all the others. Each is stamped and numbered individually.
The present quarter of the sheet has a vertical central fold, with a slight loss at the top; the bottom edge is slightly irregular. It is significantly darkened at the left and right, where those small areas projected and were exposed while the sheet was folded slightly irregularly, either while on tour or for a prolonged period in the studio. The blank quarter of this side above this drawing is similarly darkened and stained overall, and was evidently fully exposed at that time.

Matthew Imms
August 2016

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