Joseph Mallord William Turner

A Wooded River Scene, with Boats and a Distant Bridge

1821

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D18840
Turner Bequest CCXIII 91

Catalogue entry

This drawing of a wooded river landscape continues across the truncated folio 86 verso opposite (D40984). The leaf’s dating and current setting are discussed in the Technical notes below.
Technical notes:
In Finberg’s 1909 Inventory, he noted in relation to Turner Bequest CCXIII 90 (folio 86 as now bound: D18839, D40984) and 91 (the present leaf, folio 87): ‘The following two pages may belong to this book. They agree in size and water mark. Page 90 has been cut down, and the two leaves mounted on cartridge.’1
The leaves were presumably bound in here as part of the programme of consolidation and restoration of Turner Bequest sketchbooks at the British Museum following the 1928 Tate flood; in fact, the association is spurious. The outer part of folio 86 survives elsewhere in the Bequest, listed by Finberg in one of his groupings of separate sheets: Tate D25519 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII a 4) and its verso (D40311). D25519 is now known as A Group of Boats at Rouen, and its similarity to other sketches made on Turner’s 1821 tour of France has led Ian Warrell to connect the two leaves now bound here with that year’s Paris, Seine and Dieppe sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXI).2 Despite its title, that book contains numerous English subjects, so the view here could be English or French.
The use of watercolour wash in the sky studies here and on D18839 can be associated with two watercolour sky studies remaining in the Paris, Seine and Dieppe book (Tate D18529 and D18530; Turner Bequest CCXI 3, 4).

Matthew Imms
December 2014

1
Finberg 1909, II, p.650.
2
See Warrell 1999, pp.24, 265 under no.6.

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