Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Church among Trees, with a Distant River and Hills


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 196 × 280 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 92

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, characterised by a spire flanked by pinnacles and a north transept with a stepped gable and more pinnacles. Its setting is unidentified but may be in the North of England or Lowland Scotland. The present sketch shows the north side of the church in the most detail, with the valley receding to the south-west on the right. See also Tate D34452 and D34453 (Turner Bequest CCCXLIV 95, 96).
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.
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. D34453 is on the other side, on the verso of D34450. Each is stamped and numbered individually.
The present quarter of the sheet has a vertical central fold, with a slight tear at the top and loss at the bottom, and the top right corner has been creased, again with a slight loss.

Matthew Imms
August 2016

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