Joseph Mallord William Turner

Coniston: Looking up Church Beck to Wetherlam


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 370 × 274 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXV 57

Catalogue entry

Church Beck flows from the Coniston Fells and Levers Water through the village of Coniston into Coniston Water near the head of the lake. Turner’s view is taken from above the village, looking towards Great How Crags and Wetherlam. The lower slopes of Coniston Old Man flank the view on the left. The Church Beck Falls and Coppermines Valley are in the foreground.
An oil painting exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1798, Morning amongst the Coniston Fells, Cumberland (Tate N00461)1 was based on this drawing. With its burst of light and plunging vertical composition it is, like the painting of Buttermere Lake, with part of Cromackwater, Cumberland, a Shower (Tate N00460)2 based on folio 40 recto (D01086; Turner Bequest XXXV 84), a testimony to the impact on Turner of Sublime landscape, and one of the principal results of this visit to the Lakes. A watercolour of a mountain stream, supposedly at Coniston and perhaps Church Beck is in a private collection.3
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.3–4 no.5, pl.6 (colour).
Ibid., p.5 no.7, pl.5 (colour).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.325 no.230, reproduced.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram; inscribed by A.J. Finberg in pencil ‘141.57’.

Andrew Wilton
August 2010

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