Joseph Mallord William Turner

Addingham Mill on the River Wharfe


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 446 × 593 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLIV M

Catalogue entry

This is one of ten large pencil drawings including D12110, D12112, D12115, D12116, D12117, D12118, D12119, D12120 and D12121 (Turner Bequest CLIV L, N, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W) that form a coherent group of sketches in the Wharfe and Washburn Valleys near Farnley Hall, the Yorkshire home of Turner’s patron Walter Fawkes, and record a tour up the River Wharfe from Farnley to Bolton Abbey. Several formed the bases of finished watercolours, some of which are dateable to 1809. Previously dubbed by the present writer the ‘Wharfedale and Washburn’ sketchbook, they do not in fact form a sketchbook but nevertheless appear to come from a single campaign, probably in the summer of 1808 on Turner’s first visit to Farnley. It is remarkable that Turner chose to sketch in pencil on such large sheets as these, and it is not at all clear what purpose the large scale was supposed to serve. They must have been problematic to handle in the open air, and we must presume that weather conditions were benign to have made it feasible it work with them.
The present sketch is a view of Addingham Mill, looking upstream of the Wharfe about halfway between Ilkley and Bolton Abbey. It formed the basis of a finished watercolour of Addingham Mill (City Art Gallery, Manchester),1 painted for Fawkes about 1809.
Wilton 1979, p.363 no.548. In the opinion of the present writer, another version listed by Wilton as no.549, is not by Turner. The subject has been sometimes called Arthington or Arvington.

David Hill
July 2009

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