Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Road over the Fells, with a Lead Mine


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 274 × 370 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXV 35

Catalogue entry

The subject was drawn with the page turned horizontally. Turner scholar David Hill tentatively identifies the lead mine that is just visible beyond the crest of the road in this drawing with the Grasmere Mine on Greenhead Gill, a stream that comes down from Rydal Fall to the north-east of Grasmere. However, Turner’s walk on this excursion from Grasmere may have taken him over the flank of Loughrigg Fell to Elterwater – see folio 50 recto (D01038; Turner Bequest XXXV 36) – and he may have encountered a mine on that itinerary. Such mines were of importance as supplying black lead or graphite for use in drawing implements; Westmorland was the most important source of this mineral in the world, and shortly after this period legislation was needed to curtail the over-exploitation of the resource.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram; inscribed by A.J. Finberg in pencil ‘141.35’.

Andrew Wilton
August 2010

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