Joseph Mallord William Turner

Ashburnham Place, a Timber Wagon in the Foreground


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 181 x 228 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXVII 68

Catalogue entry

Continued on folio 45 (D10313; Turner Bequest CXXXVII 69), this formed the basis of the watercolour the Vale of Ashburnham (British Museum, London)1 dated 1816, made for John Fuller and engraved by William Bernard Cooke in 1817 for Views in Sussex. In his letterpress to Cooke’s plate Ramsay Richard Reinagle enthused: ‘The whole is happily composed, if I may use the term. The eye of the spectator, on looking at this beautifully painted scene, roves with an eager delight from one hill to another, and seems to play on the dappled woods till arrested by the seat of Lord Ashburnham’.
Ashburnham Place appears in the middle distance and far away on the horizon are Pevensey Bay and Beachy Head. In the foreground, oxen are hauling a timber wagon. Turner retained these in the watercolour, together with the stripped trunk of a tree sketched in the foreground of D10313, as an allusion to the felling of woodland to provide fuel for iron-smelting at Ashburnham Forge. As Eric Shanes has pointed out,2 the forge closed in 1813 but was still functioning when Turner made his drawings of the estate in 1810. For a possible drawing of the forge in this sketchbook, see folio 13 verso (D10226; Turner Bequest CXXXVII 12a).

David Blayney Brown
March 2011

Wilton 1979, p.349 no.425.
Eric Shanes, Turner in 1066 Country, exhibition catalogue, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery, Hastings 1998, p.11.

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