Joseph Mallord William Turner

A River Scene, with Trees


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 114 × 188 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXII 10

Display caption

This small sketchbook contains many pencil studies that served as the basis of two important watercolours of the view from Richmond Hill. It also includes a number of extremely vivacious watercolour sketches of river scenery. In many of them, such as the present drawing, Turner took advantage of the slight resistance of the paper to certain pigments. Such speckling of the colour makes the light sparkle.

Gallery label, September 2004

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Catalogue entry

This is one of a sequence of twenty-five recto pages of watercolour landscape, sea and sky compositions between folio 9 recto (D18609) and folio 34 recto (D18638), many of which evoke quiet Thames Valley settings with water in the foreground; for a checklist and general comments, see the sketchbook’s Introduction. Eric Shanes has observed, in relation to the whole sequence and the present page in particular, how ‘Turner took advantage of the slight resistance of the paper to certain pigments. Such a speckling of the colours can be seen to great advantage [here], for it lends enormous sparkle to the scene depicted.’1

Matthew Imms
December 2014

Shanes 1997, p.65.

Read full Catalogue entry


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