Joseph Mallord William Turner

From Sutton Bank, Looking South to Roulston Scar and Hood Hill


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 149 × 93 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLIX 295

Catalogue entry

This is the left half of a double-page spread continued to the right on folio 294 verso opposite (D11895), recording the view south and south-west from the bend in the road about halfway up Sutton Bank, with the crag of Roulston Scar in the distance to the left and the conical shape of Hood Hill to the right. Some figures are seated to the bottom right, no doubt enjoying a rest from the ascent. The following spread in the sequence (running from the back, folios 294 recto–293 verso; D11894–D11893) shows the view west and north-west from exactly the same viewpoint, panning round to the right in turning from one spread to the next.
This sketch is the first of six double-page spreads, drawn working from the back of the sketchbook (and thus in reverse to the numbered sequence) recording views at Sutton Bank in north Yorkshire. The Thirsk to Helmsley road here makes a steep ascent up the western crags of the Hambleton Hills and the summit is one of the most celebrated viewpoints in Yorkshire, commanding the whole of the central plains towards the Pennines.
The present sequence of sketches appears to be the only record of Turner visiting Sutton Bank, and thus prompts some consideration of what his itinerary might have been. The previous sketches are subjects on the moors near Farnley Hall, the home of his Yorkshire friend and patron Walter Fawkes,1 so he appears to have been headed east from there perhaps to Rievaulx Abbey. A sketch of Rievaulx occurs in the Devonshire Rivers, No.3, and Wharfedale sketchbook (Tate D09853; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 55). The same sketchbook also contains a sketch of Scarborough (Tate D09866; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 65), which would have been a natural continuation of the route eastwards. There are related sketches of Scarborough in the Scarborough 1 and Scarborough 2 sketchbooks (Tate D11914–D11951; D40706–D40707; Turner Bequest CL and Tate D11952–D11973; D40708–D40711; Turner Bequest CLI). It might be that these sketchbooks all relate to the same tour.

David Hill
October 2008

See James Hamilton, ‘Fawkes, Walter Ramsden (1769–1825)’, in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, pp.103–5.

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