Joseph Mallord William Turner

Figures in Costume, and a Horse-Drawn Cart

c.1821–2

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 187 × 113 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D17361
Turner Bequest CXCVIII 90

Catalogue entry

Made with the sketchbook turned vertically, the drawings on this page describe figures in various different costumes, as identified by Finberg, and others tending to a horse and cart.1
The top row of figures includes an inscription, partly illegible, but possibly relating to the black colour of the costume in question. The two characters on the right wear brimmed hats, the left hand pair appearing to be bare-headed. Only the figure at far right is realised to the point of including feet and arms, and even boasts facial features.
Further down the page, Turner swiftly describes two figures at left, with a horse-drawn cart at right, and another unidentified object at far right. The horse is formulated from dark shading, and Turner appears to have applied a great deal of pressure to the page here in comparison to the light sketches on surrounding leaves. The round wheels of the cart are clearly delineated, and the figures’ heads are their most clearly defined features. It is possible that a tangle of short lines directly beneath the figures and cart might comprise an inscription, but it is unfortunately illegible.

Maud Whatley
January 2016

1
Finberg 1909, I, p.607.

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