Bodiam Castle (in the care of the National Trust) was begun in 1385 and passed through various owners. By the eighteenth century, when it was an ivy-covered ruin, it was in the possession of the Webster family of Battle Abbey, who sold it to Turner’s patron John Fuller in 1829. Fuller is credited with saving it from demolition, and began a partial restoration. Around 1816, Turner made for Fuller a watercolour of Bodiam (private collection)1 working from a drawing in his Vale of Heathfield sketchbook (Tate D10214–D10215; Turner Bequest CXXXVII 6a–7). This indicates that the castle, only a few miles from Fuller’s estate at Rosehill (now Brightling) Park, was of interest to Fuller well before he bought it but on the evidence of this sketchbook, Turner’s own interest predated his patron’s. He surveyed the castle from all sides, walking round the moat and working at least as far as folio 77 (D05694). This view is from the south-east, approaching the castle from the River Rother near Bodiam bridge.
The leaf is stained.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.348 no.428.