Joseph Mallord William Turner

Children at a Country Weir


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 79 x 101 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXXI 23

Catalogue entry

As set out in the Introduction, this is one of a sequence running through the middle of this sketchbook showing a substantial rural weir with a fence-like wooden superstructure, populated by numerous adults and children engaged in or watching fishing. The location is unidentified. Here, the figures appear to be children, and the most prominent leans or sits bare-legged on the rail in a shirt or smock. The face is shaded but the features are blurred into obscurity. Jack Lindsay used this drawing among examples of Turner’s sympathetic depictions of children at play.1
See Lindsay 1966, pp.17, 220 note 16.
Technical notes:
This leaf and folio 22 (D27765, D27766) have been trimmed slightly at the fore-edge, in this case effectively cutting off the ‘3’ of the red ink page number. Two edges are darkened by dust or exposure, indicative of disturbance at some point. Both leaves appear to have been extracted, potentially for display, as shown by the consecutive red ink numbers inscribed on them, apparently by John Ruskin, in this case ‘996’; for further discussion, see the technical notes in the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
April 2014

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