This colour study was traditionally associated with Turner’s 1827 stay at Petworth in Sussex, after his Isle of Wight visit, where he produced a series similar in technique,1 addressed elsewhere in this catalogue. However, Ian Warrell has suggested2 that the strong strip of blue beyond the trees is the sea, and that the setting is thus probably the wooded grounds of East Cowes Castle, looking north to the Solent. He has also compared its relaxed, rustic ‘fête champêtre’ or ‘fête galante’ mood with that of Turner’s painting Boccaccio Relating the Tale of the Birdcage, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1828 (Tate N00507),3 to which 1827 drawings specifically showing East Cowes Castle can be related; see under Tate D20844 (Turner Bequest CCXXVII a 41).
This is among dozens of blue paper studies made in and around East Cowes Castle, presumably during the same visit. For more on the various aspects of the house (demolished in about 1950), and its lost grounds as depicted by Turner, see the Introduction to this subsection, where interior scenes formerly associated with Petworth are also noted.
Blank; inscribed by John Ruskin in ink ‘239 | O’ bottom right; inscribed in pencil ‘22a’ at centre; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘CCXLIV 60’ bottom left; inscribed in red ink ‘60’, continuing in pencil ‘.ccxliv’, bottom left.
Ruskin’s number signifies that the sheet was once in one of the parcels of unmounted sketches within the Turner Bequest CCXLIV grouping. Those marked with this number were described by him as ‘Colour on grey. Petworth. Worse’; as Finberg notes, this is in relation to those marked ‘238 | O’, described as ‘Inferior’.1
See Finberg 1909, II, p.744.