Joseph Mallord William Turner

Distant view of Derwentwater, from Newlands Road, with Skiddaw and Keswick


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 274 × 370 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXV 26

Catalogue entry

Turner scholar David Hill identifies this view, drawn with the page turned horizontally, as having been taken from Manor Brow, at Castlerigg, looking down on Castle Head and Derwentwater, with a distant view of Derwent Fells; the road is the Penrith road, on which Turner travelled south into Keswick, which is just out of sight to the right of the composition. The mountaineer and art historian Peter Bicknell1 has suggested that the drawing shows the Newlands Road, south-west of Keswick, with a distant view of Skiddaw and Keswick itself on the far shore of the lake. Indeed, if Hill’s identification is correct it is difficult to account for the substantial settlement plainly visible on the far side of the water.
According to Hill, this is Turner’s ‘first impression’ of the Keswick region, and so ought to precede all the drawings from folio 25 recto (D01021; Turner Bequest XXXV 19) onwards, excepting, presumably, folio 30 recto (D01022; Turner Bequest 20); but it is at present bound at the end of the ‘Borrowdale’ sequence (see folio 31 recto; D01023; Turner Bequest XXXV 21), immediately after two studies made on the western shore, folios 36 recto and 37 recto (D01026, D01027; Turner Bequest XXXV 24, 25).
If it in fact this view shows the Newlands Road it would be in the correct place for the final drawing of the excursion, rather than the first of the Keswick stay. Equally, it might be the first drawing of his next excursion, along the Newlands Road and over the Derwent Fells to Buttermere and Crummock Water. Since the distant hills are apparently partly obscured by mist, this may be a morning rather than an evening subject, and the vigour of the work suggests a fresh eye and hand.
Oral communication.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram; inscribed by Finberg in pencil ‘141.26’.

Andrew Wilton
August 2010

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