Joseph Mallord William Turner

Figures near a Carriage in a Wooded Mountain Landscape, Perhaps in Slovenia

1840

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Chalk and graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 138 × 191 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D33884
Turner Bequest CCCXLI 183v

Catalogue entry

This slight subject is unrelated to the Venice view on the recto (D33883). It seems to show figures and a horse or horses on the left, and a carriage behind trees on the right. The white chalk above the pencil outlines of distant hills may represent bright cloud or higher peaks.
The setting and occasion are unclear, but may represent a scheduled roadside halt or some minor delay to Turner’s journey, in the tradition of the rather more dramatic watercolours marking incidents on his return through the Alps on previous Continental tours, 1820’s Snowstorm, Mont Cenis (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery),1 and Messieurs les voyageurs on their Return from Italy (par la diligence) in a Snow Drift upon Mount Tarrar – 22nd of January, 1829, exhibited in that year (British Museum, London).2
In 1840 the outward route had brought him though the Austrian Alps and the Italian Dolomites (see the Rotterdam to Venice sketchbook; Tate; Turner Bequest CCCXX). After crossing from Venice to Trieste he travelled through rugged, unfamiliar scenery in Austrian-controlled Slovenia towards Austria itself (see the Trieste, Graz and Danube book; Turner Bequest CCXCIX), and this sketch perhaps shows that leg of the journey, hastily set down on the back of one of the sheets he had recently used.
1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.345 no.402, reproduced.
2
Ibid., no.405, pl.208.
Technical notes:
There is scattered brown staining. For notes on the paper, see under the recto (D33883).

Matthew Imms
September 2018

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