Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Wooded Landscape with a Bridge; the Sails of a Boat; a Figure Study


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, at the top is a slight sketch of a wooded landscape with a bridge and possibly a tower; at the centre is an unrelated study of the sails of a boat; and at the left of the latter, inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, is a rapid figure study. On first reading, this page does not seem to have been recorded in Finberg’s 1909 Inventory, as the entry immediately following that for the recto (D18704) is for page ‘92. Thames from Richmond Terrace, and other slight sketches’.1 The latter has long been recorded as missing in Tate’s registrarial records, assuming it ever entered the collection; given the associated descriptive title, it seems possible that Finberg’s ‘92’ was simple a typographic error for ‘91a’.
Various earlier pages show the view over the River Thames from Richmond Hill, including the one on the recto; see under folio 5 verso (D18603) for others in this sketchbook and related works. The present landscape may be elsewhere in the Thames Valley, or an improvisation. Turner’s notes here, labelled ‘Richmond 1825’ seem to be to observations on colour; compare folios 75 verso and 90 verso (D18684, D18703);
Like the sailing boats on the recto, the sails here could have been noted along the Thames; it has also been suggested that some of the drawings at each end of this book were made when Turner visited the Low Countries in August 1825 (see the Introduction), and the same goes for the enigmatic seated figure study here, with effectively illegible notes. See also inside the back cover opposite (D40973).
See A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.II, p.647.
Technical notes:
In relation to the recto, Finberg noted that ‘Page 91 is partly torn’,1 and the loss has since been made good, the outer 68 mm having been replaced with modern, slightly off-white wove paper.

Matthew Imms
December 2014


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