Joseph Mallord William Turner

Figures and Horses: Related to ‘Men with Horses Crossing a River’


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Pen and ink on paper
Support: 171 × 262 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCIII 44

Catalogue entry

Finberg’s ‘cattle’ are horses, as observed by Hill who also recognised that this sketch is related to the contemporary, unfinished oil known as Men with Horses Crossing a River (Tate N02695) 1 along with the slighter sketch on the verso (D05843) and further sketches inside the back cover of the sketchbook (D40635). The central grouping is much as in the painting but there is an extra horse on the left and figures on the right, while a punt and the background landscape, trees and distant building are lacking. Hill believes that the pencil sketches on the verso and inside the back cover were made on the spot, implying that the slightly more developed versions in ink were worked up afterwards, then serving as composition studies for the oil. As Hill notes, the motif throughout seems to be horses being watered, rather than crossing a river; a cart appears on the verso. As he also observes, the painting is ‘loosely based on Richmond riverside scenery’ and the Star and Garter on Richmond Hill appears in the background of the sketch on folio 37 verso (D05831).2

David Blayney Brown
October 2007

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.118 no.170 (pl.170).
Hill 1993, p.129.

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