Joseph Mallord William Turner

?A Church Interior

1821

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 187 × 113 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D40686

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, the uppermost subject is a drawing of, as Finberg articulates, ‘part of an interior of a church’.1 Turner observes his subject from the back end of the left aisle, looking into the nave through dramatic arches. Diagonally opposite is a pulpit with adjoining steps and small lancet windows are visible above.
Finberg notes that the pencil inscription descending from towards top right reads ‘Wageman – Portrait of Mrs F’.2 This seems likely to be Mrs Fawkes; Maria Sophia (1786–1847), second wife of Turner’s friend and patron Walter Ramsden Fawkes (1769–1825) and a woman with whom Turner had a warm and apparently teasing relationship.3 Thomas Charles Wageman (1787–1863) was a prolific portrait artist and engraver, for whom Walter Fawkes sat at some point in the early 1820s. In 1825 Thomas Woolnoth published an engraving after Wageman which depicted Fawkes as resplendent sitter (National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG D42544).4
The most prominent inscription is that of Turner’s executors. It displays the book’s original schedule number as endorsed by Henry Scott Trimmer, Charles Turner, Charles Lock Eastlake and John Prescott Knight. The inscription starts at, and descends from, centre right of the vertically oriented page. Rendered in ink, it reads: ‘No 353 Contains | 81 leaves in Pencil on | Both sides – | C Turner’, and initialled in pencil ‘C.L.E.’ and ‘JPK’ below, towards the centre of the page.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.603.
2
Ibid.
3
Evelyn Joll, Martin Butler, and Luke Herrmann ed., The Oxford Companion to J. M. W. Turner, Oxford 2001, p.105.
4
See ‘Walter Ramsden Fawkes’, National Portrait Gallery, http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw233774/Walter-Ramsden-Fawkes, accessed 27th August 2015.

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