Joseph Mallord William Turner

East Cowes Castle from the South-West, with Figures among Trees


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Chalk and pen and ink on paper
Support: 192 × 139 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXVII a 34

Catalogue entry

From the woods south-west of East Cowes Castle, the octagonal tower and adjoining arcaded conservatory to its south-east glimmer on the skyline. In the middle distance there appear to be two upright figures walking, while in the left foreground a woman and a less clearly defined companion are seated. They are of the sort Finberg dubbed ‘lovers’ here and in similar studies;1 see under Tate D20809 (Turner Bequest CCXXVII a 6) for other examples.
In its general arrangement of foreground figures and a distant white tower through trees, this drawing can also be associated with the painting Boccaccio Relating the Tale of the Birdcage, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1828 (Tate N00507);2 see under D20844 (CCXXVII a 41) for the subject and similar studies.
This is among dozens of blue paper studies made in and around East Cowes Castle, presumably in the course of a single visit. For more on the various aspects of the house (demolished in about 1950), and its lost grounds as depicted by Turner, see the Introduction to this subsection.
See Finberg 1909, II, p.701.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.151–2 no.244, pl.245 (colour); the present drawing is noted ibid., p.151.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘CCVII.a.44 [sic] | Box 97’ top right, ascending vertically.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

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