Joseph Mallord William Turner



Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 187 × 273 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 228

Catalogue entry

Eric Shanes notes Ian Warrell’s unpublished suggestion1 that this colour study relates to the watercolour Dudley, Worcestershire of about 1832 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight),2 engraved in 1835 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T05097, T06113, T06114). The finished design relates in turn to a sequence of slight pencil sketches made on Turner’s 1830 Midlands tour in the Birmingham and Coventry sketchbook (Tate D22396–D22417; Turner Bequest CCLX 39a–50).
There are possible correspondences between the dim, moonlit hills with silhouetted buildings, the watery foreground with hints of structures or boats and the firelight at the right here, and features in the same juxtapositions in the finished watercolour. The fact that the present sheet is of significantly smaller dimensions than Dudley, Worcestershire’s 288 x 430 mm, whereas the ‘colour beginnings’ related to other England and Wales subjects tend to be larger than the finished designs, perhaps counts against the proposed identification.
Another industrial Midlands ‘colour beginning’, perhaps of Dudley or Birmingham, is Tate D25250 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 128). See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Shanes 1997, p.96.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.400 no.858, pl.195.
Blank, save for isolated spots of ?offset watercolour; inscribed in pencil ‘AB218 P.O’ top left, upside down; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII | 228’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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