Joseph Mallord William Turner

Fox Tower Near Brough, Cumbria


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 74 × 94 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIV 34

Catalogue entry

With the book inverted, are two sketches of a tower on a hillside inscribed ‘Fox tower’. This structure is a folly, constructed in 1775 by John Metcalf Carleton of Helbeck Hall on his estate in Helbeck near Brough in Cumbria. The folly consists of two cylindrical towers on a cylindrical base built onto rocks on the hillside to the north of Brough. It can be seen from the road that Turner took between Appleby and Barnard Castle, and the rapid and wobbly nature of his sketches suggest that Turner may have made them as he was coaching past.
There are further sketches of Fox Tower on folios 33 verso, 35 verso, 36 verso and 37 verso (D25588, D25592, D25594, D25596), and pages between and near to these in the sketchbook show that Turner also took rough views of the nearby landscape from the road, as well as Brough Castle, less than a mile away to the south (see folio 36; D25593).

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

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