Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Ruin by Water, with Cattle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache, graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 405 × 546 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXX H

Catalogue entry

Finberg grouped this sheet with drawings of about 1800–2, including two works executed in collaboration with the animal painter Sawrey Gilpin (1733–1807): a scene exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1811 under the title Windsor Park, with Horses by the Late Sawrey Gilpin, Esq., R.A. (Tate D04158; Turner Bequest LXX G);1 and a landscape with mine shaft, in which a group of donkeys has been added by Gilpin (Tate D04160; Turner Bequest LXX I). In 1799 Turner had exhibited the watercolour Sunny Morning – the Cattle by S. Gilpin, R.A. at the Academy (untraced).2
Finberg thought that the subject of the present sheet might be St Agatha’s Abbey, near Richmond, Yorkshire; there are drawings of St Agatha’s in the 1797 North of England sketchbook (Tate D00930, D00931; Turner Bequest XXXIV 24, 25). Although the identification is evidently incorrect, no alternative has yet been suggested. The work is a well-advanced finished watercolour rather than a study or preparatory experiment, and is therefore likely to be topographically identifiable. The scene may be in the Welsh Marches rather than in Yorkshire.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, pp.346–7 no.414, reproduced.
Ibid., p.327 no.251.
Technical notes:
The paper is slightly discoloured.
Laid down on card; the support blank; inscribed in pencil ‘No 22D’, also in red chalk ‘13’ encircled; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
March 2013

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