Joseph Mallord William Turner

East Cowes Castle: The Library, with a Harp Recital


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Gouache and watercolour on paper
Support: 141 × 189 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXLIV 28

Catalogue entry

This is among dozens of blue paper studies made in and around East Cowes Castle, presumably during the same 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. The present colour study was traditionally associated with Turner’s 1827 stay at Petworth in Sussex, after his Isle of Wight visit, where he produced a series similar in technique,1 addressed elsewhere in this catalogue.
There are a few drawings now identified as East Cowes interiors (see also Tate D20851, D20852, D22694, D22705, D22761; Turner Bequest CCXXVII a 48, 49, CCXLIV 32, 43, 99). This and D22705 apparently show the library with a woman in black seated with a harp, playing to a group of seated men and women; ink drawings of the room are D20851 and D20852.
See Finberg 1909, II, pp.744–6, CCXLIV 1–116, ‘Petworth Water Colours’, c.1830.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘11a’ right of centre; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘CCXLIV 28’ bottom left; inscribed in red ink ‘28’, continuing in pencil ‘.ccxliv’, bottom right.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

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