Joseph Mallord William Turner

Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire: The Entrance Front


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 130 × 79 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XLVI 58 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the drawing is continued on folio 59 recto opposite (D02087). There is a separate study of a coat of arms at the top right of the present page. Gawthorpe Hall is in Padiham, just to the north west of Burnley, on the road to Whalley. Turner shows the west front of the house, which was built for the Shuttleworth family in the first decade of the seventeenth century. It was modified after Turner’s visit, in the middle years of the nineteenth century, by Sir Charles Barry.
Presumably, Turner subsequently made an untraced watercolour design of the house; however, unlike numerous other subjects,1 it was not used for Thomas Dunham Whitaker’s History of Whalley (1800–1) because Charles Townley of Towneley Hall, Burnley (see the contemporary Lancashire and North Wales sketchbook; Tate D01985; Turner Bequest XLV 45), found ‘an old and very bad painting’ of Gawthorpe, which he persuaded Whitaker to use instead.2 Turner wrote to Whitaker protesting about this treatment of his own work.3
The sketch of another house on folio 29 recto (D02039) of this book may also show a Lancashire property. For more drawings of private houses in the county see the Lancashire and North Wales book (Tate D01928–D01929, D01982; Turner Bequest XLV 14a–15, 42).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

See Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, pp.331–2 nos.285–294 (some reproduced).
Letter from Whitaker to Dr Thomas Wilson of Clitheroe, 8 February 1800, quoted in Stanley Warburton, Turner and Dr. Whitaker, exhibition catalogue, Towneley Hall Art Gallery & Museums, Burnley 1982, p.31 under no.17.
See ibid.

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