Joseph Mallord William Turner

Composition Study; and a Sketch of a Castle

c.1830–1

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 74 × 94 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25642
Turner Bequest CCLXIV 64

Catalogue entry

There are two unconnected sketches on this page. The first, made with the sketchbook inverted, is more an exercise in tone and effect than a visual record of a subject, and seems likely to be a composition study rather than an on-the-spot sketch. Three sketches earlier in the book have been identified as composition studies (folios 57–58; D25631–D25633) and this may also be related. Its vertical composition and undefined edges suggest a vignette study, and the subject of a sun shrouded by clouds or smoke recalls works such as A Tempest – Voyage of Columbus circa 1831–2 (watercolour; Tate D27719; Turner Bequest CLXXX 202).
The other sketch on the page, however, this time made with the book turned to the left, does have the appearance of an on-the-spot sketch from the 1831 tour. The subject may be part of Barnard Castle (see folio 55 verso; D25628), or some other castle on a hill or mound.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

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