Turner scholar David Hill contends1 that this study was painted on the spot at the end of Turner’s tour of the Scottish Highlands in 1801, prior to the execution, also on the spot, of the view of Derwentwater that Farington had bespoke from the Tweed and Lakes sketchbook in 1797; see Tate D01084 and D01102 (Turner Bequest XXXV 82, XXXVI H). The sheet has the characteristics of an open-air study, like others made in Scotland on the 1801 tour, and may well have been executed in those conditions, though it is odd that Turner seems to have made no other such studies once he had left Scotland. Furthermore, if the view for Farington was in gestation, Turner would surely have wished to make a further study of that subject rather than this substantially different one.
By the time he reached Kendal he was at the very last stages of his long tour, and may not have had time to visit the spot from which he originally drew Lodore. But in that case, it is odd that he found time to make such an elaborate watercolour ‘on the spot’. On stylistic grounds a date of 1801 for the present study is not implausible, but it is catalogued here with other drawings relating to the 1797 tour, when we know that Turner visited Keswick and the shores of Derwentwater.
Hill 1996, p.108.
There is a vertical fold approximately 130 mm from the right-hand edge.
Blank; inscribed ‘[?Derwtwtr]’; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.
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