Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Farmyard in a Wooded Valley in Devon or Yorkshire


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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 179 x 254 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXIV 16

Catalogue entry

Finberg thought this wooded rural view was in the ‘Wharfe Valley’,1 presumably in the neighbourhood of Farnley Hall (see under folio 1 verso; D09790), the focal point of Turner’s Yorkshire work in this sketchbook, probably in 1816. The River Wharfe runs south past Bolton Abbey (see under folio 7 Recto; D09874; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 73) before turning roughly eastwards, forming the present-day boundary of North and West Yorkshire. However, the lack of landmarks makes identification effectively impossible, and the scene might equally well be in a lush Devon valley observed in 1814, drawings of the two counties having been irretrievably mixed up when this sketchbook was dismembered and reassembled (see the Introduction). The forms of the small farm buildings and the haystacks seem too generic to differentiate a local southern or northern style. A man has climbed up to attend to one of the stacks, and there seems to be another figure near the animals indicated at the far end of the enclosure.
The drawing is continued a little at the right-hand edge of folio 38 recto (D09808; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 17).
Finberg 1909, I, p.381.
Technical notes:
There is a prominent brown stain to the left of centre, showing through from the verso.
Blank, save for inscription by John Ruskin in red ink ‘920’ bottom left

Matthew Imms
July 2014

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