Joseph Mallord William Turner

Bishop Auckland: The Deer House, Castle and Wear Valley


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 232 × 328 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLVI 27

Catalogue entry

This page is now correctly bound as a continuous composition with folio 15 verso opposite (D12294; Turner Bequest CLVI 20), where the Wear Valley and Newton Cap Bridge appear, while the present half shows the view south-west to the Gothic Revival deer shelter of 1760 in the park below medieval Auckland Castle, dominated by the pinnacled roofline of St Peter’s Chapel. For more on the histories of the castle (later the principal residence of the Bishops of Durham) and the shelter, see the entries for Tate D12346 and D12349 respectively (Turner Bequest CLVII 22, 24) in the Durham, North Shore sketchbook.
The detailed two-page view is a repetition of two sketchier studies in the Durham, North Shore book (Tate D12353, D12354; Turner Bequest CLVII 26a, 27), presumably made on the same occasion, and ending a sequence of views in that book beginning at Tate D12345 (Turner Bequest CLVII 21a) following the course of the River Gaunless from south to north anti-clockwise around the castle towards the River Wear. The prominent tree on the left and the footbridge over the Gaunless shown here at the lower right also appear in one of the Durham, North Shore sketches (D12353).
There are also similar views from a little further north on folios 26 verso–27 recto and 27 verso of the present sketchbook (D12304–D12306).
Technical notes:
The sketchbook was broken up by Ruskin without a clear record of its sequence, which caused problems for Finberg’s Inventory listing of its contents (see the introduction to the sketchbook); this page is stamped ‘CLIV 27’ but in the Inventory its subject is listed under page ‘27a’ implying it is the verso of the leaf, its other side being given as ‘27. Blank’. The blank side (D12308; now designated CLVI 27a) is bound as folio 16 verso. To add further confusion, Finberg incorrectly bracketed this half of the composition with page ‘28’, which is now bound as folio 32 recto (D12309; CLVI 28) and is actually part of a view of Raby Castle.
The inscription ‘Part of p20 EF’ correctly links the page with the other half of the composition. The initials are those of Edwin Fagg, the Tate Gallery’s Official Lecturer, who had supervised immediate restoration work on Turner Bequest works and compiled a report of the damage caused to them following the 1928 Tate flood.1

Matthew Imms
February 2010

See National Gallery Millbank: Review of the Acquisitions during the Years July, 1927–December, 1929, London 1930, pp.8–9.

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like