Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Sportsman and Two Gun Dogs Asleep on the Moor at Hall Beck Gill


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 149 × 93 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLIX 299

Catalogue entry

Drawn as Turner worked through the sketchbook from the back, and thus in reverse to the present numbering, this is the left half of a double-page spread continued to the right on folio 298 verso opposite (D11900; see notes for full comments). The spread records the view from the head of Hall Beck Gill (see notes to folio 302 verso; D11908), looking eastwards down the line of the present road from Bolton Abbey to Harrogate. In the left foreground a sportsman lies asleep on the ground, with his dogs alongside, evidently resting during a shoot. It is a distinctive feature of the sketches in this part of the book that snoozing and resting is preferred to hunting. In this case the figure positively luxuriates in his unconsciousness. Presumably it was a warm day.
The crag to the left is known as the Dovestone and Turner sketched the same feature from the opposite side in three sketches in the Devonshire Rivers, No.3, and Wharfedale sketchbook (Tate D09798, D09799, D09804; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 9, 10, and 14), and Hall Beck Gill is the subject of a sketch looking towards this viewpoint from down the valley to the right in the Large Farnley sketchbook (Tate D09023; Turner Bequest CXXVIII 7). The Large Farnley sketchbook drawing is also the basis of a colour-beginning (Tate D17179; Turner Bequest CXCVI O). There are other overlaps between the present book and the same two sketchbooks, and it may be that the sketches relate to the same visit, but this is a site that Turner could have visited on numerous occasions during his many visits to Farnley Hall, the seat of his friend and patron Walter Fawkes.

David Hill
October 2008

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