Joseph Mallord William Turner

Cassiobury Park: Reaping


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Oil paint on oak
Support: 902 × 1219 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Display caption

This rural setting is the Cassiobury estate, on the River Gade just outside Watford in Hertfordshire. Its house, seen on the horizon, was demolished in 1927. Men and women are shown reaping by hand; a sickle lies near one of the resting figures on the left. Cassiobury was the home of the Earl of Essex, for whom this unfinished painting was probably intended along with its companion piece, the Harvest Home. As such the imagery of man and nature is more harmonious and timeless than the potentially troubled scene of the turnip harvest near Windsor shown nearby.

Gallery label, February 2010

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Catalogue entry

209a. [N04663] Cassiobury Park: Reaping c. 1809


Oak, 35 7/16 × 48 (90 × 122)

Coll. Turner Bequest 1856; transferred to the Tate Gallery 1938.

Exh. R.A. 1974–5 (147).

Very similar to the large Thames sketches (Nos. 160–76) but painted on wood instead of canvas, this has hitherto been entitled ‘Windsor Forest: Reaping’ and dated c. 1807 and was catalogued in our first edition as No. 202; the building in the background had been variously identified as Windsor Castle and the Cranbourne Tower in Windsor Great Park. However, David Hill has identified the scene as Cassiobury Park near Watford, the home of George Capel-Coningsby, 5th Earl of Essex (1757–1859). The composition sketch in the British Museum (CXX-D) is a companion to that for Harvest Home (No. 209 [N00562]) and, as David Hill points out, the two pictures seem to have been intended as a pair on the theme of the harvest. Other sketches for this picture occur in the ‘Rivers’ sketchbook of c. 1807–8 (XCVI pp. 46, 61a–64a). (The compiler is greatly indebted to David Hill who, in a letter of 18 March 1984, gave him this new material on Nos. 209 [N00562] and 209a [N04663] and allowed him to publish it.)

Published in:
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984


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