Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Harvest Home


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 150 × 258 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XC 36 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the sketchbook inverted. This is one of two studies of a harvest home in the book, the other being folio 37a (D05548). Hill was the first to observe their relationship to the oil of a harvest meal in a barn likely to have been intended for the Earl of Essex, but left unfinished (Tate N00562).1 The painting probably mainly depicts an event on the Earl’s Hertfordshire estate, Cassiobury Park, near Watford, which Turner visited in 1807; see especially the Harvest Home sketchbook (Tate D05351–D05375; D40273; D40342–D40343; Turner Bequest LXXXVI) and a composition study (Tate D08216; Turner Bequest CXX C).2 The latter seems to be based on the present sketch, following it in showing the supper laid outside a barn whereas in the picture Turner moved it inside, as seen on folio 37a.
As well as being exceptions to its Thames-based or classical subject-matter, both sketches in this book are technically different from most of its contents, being roughly sketched in chalk rather than in ink outline, wash or watercolours. It seems more likely that they were later additions to the book, developed from or contemporary with his work at Cassiobury, than that they suggest an earlier and different location for the subject.

David Blayney Brown
August 2007

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.128 no.209 (pl.208).
See also Sketchbook and Drawings Connected with Cassiobury Park and Harvest Pictures for the Earl of Essex circa 1807–12.

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