Turner’s notes read:
100:0.0 Dorfield 20 July 1808 | one month after date pay Sir J. or order one | Hundred P. value received | H[enr]y Tomkinson
Goslings & Co | Bankers
Goslings & Co | Bankers
Turner’s ‘Dorfield’ was read by Hill, Warburton and Tussey as meaning Dorfold Hall, Nantwich, Cheshire. This can be confirmed by the reference to its then owner, Henry Tomkinson (1741–1822). Dorfold and Nantwich are near Knutsford and Tabley, where Turner stayed with Sir John Leicester in 1808, and could have been on the way to or from North Wales and the Dee valley visited from there; see Introduction to the sketchbook.
On the face of it the rest of the note seems to describe payments between Tomkinson and Sir John, but one wonders why Turner should be involved. Perhaps a payment was to be offset against Sir John’s purchase of the pictures Tabley, the Seat of Sir J.F. Leicester, Bart.: Windy Day (Tabley House Collection, University of Manchester) and Tabley, Cheshire, the Seat of Sir J.F. Leicester, Bart.: Calm Morning (Tate T03878; displayed at Petworth House) painted as a result of Turner’s visit,1 or Pope’s Villa at Twickenham, during its Dilapidation (on the London art market in 2008)2 which Sir John had bought from Turner’s Gallery in 1808; Turner’s receipt for the full 200 guineas for the latter (Tabley House)3 is dated 1 September which might reflect a final payment in late August. Goslings Bank was at 19 Fleet Street, London. It is now subsumed into Barclays.
Recently Hill4 has noted past readings of Turner’s date as 1808 but stated that it ‘could also be read as 1818’, further suggesting that the later date is more appropriate for the drawings following in the sketchbook and for the visit to Kirkstall Abbey depicted in them. Turner sold his 1807 Sun Rising through Vapour: Fishermen Cleaning and Selling Fish (National Gallery, London)5 to Sir John during 1818 and wrote to him on 16 December to thank him for ‘100£ in part of the 350 Gs.’6 However on 21 July 1818 he was at home in London7 and the present writer finds the arguments for 1808 more persuasive. Currently, Hill also favours the earlier date.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.70–1 nos.98, 99 (pls.106, 107).
Ibid., pp.55–6 no.72 (pl.82); Sotheby’s sale, 9 July 2008, lot 91.
Douglas Hall, ‘The Tabley House Papers’, The Walpole Society, vol.38, 1960–2, p.93 no.186.
Hill 2008, p.189 note 20.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.53–4 no.69 (pl.79).
John Gage ed., Collected Correspondence of J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 1980, p.78 no.78.
Letter to W.B. Cooke, 21 July 1818; Gage 1980. p.73 no.74.