Hitherto this subject has been described as ‘Wharfedale’ but there is nothing specific to identify the scene, although it is presumably somewhere near Farnley Hall, the seat of Turner’s friend and patron Walter Fawkes. The landscape appears almost totally denuded of trees, which suggests a location quite high up one of the side valleys off Wharfedale. The greatest probability would be the Upper Washburn Valley, and perhaps in the area of Blubberhouses or Thrusscross, although this part of the valley has been somewhat altered by the construction of reservoirs.
The sketch shows several large plumes of rising smoke, even though conditions appear to be damp. This is probably from the controlled burning of heather, which would suggest a very late season since this operation is usually carried out between November and March.
The geese are rather reminiscent of those in the foreground of the watercolour of Wycliffe (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool),1 painted c.1816–18.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.365 no.568.
The centre of the sheet is conspicuously faded, presumably a result of its exhibition in the nineteenth century.
Blank, except for a pencil inscription ‘CXXVIII 36’ and a small splash of blue watercolour, probably made while Turner was developing a watercolour from folio 37 (D09053), opposite.