Joseph Mallord William Turner

Groups of Figures around a Barrel of Ale, with Various Other Figures


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 258 x 370 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest LXXXVI 5

Catalogue entry

These studies relate to Turner’s unfinished painting Harvest Home (Tate N00562).1 The figures around a barrel are connected with those to left of centre in the picture, who include a Scotsman and a Scottish boy. As also noted in the catalogue entry for the separate composition study for Harvest Home (Tate D08216; Turner Bequest CXX C), in the oil they must be intended to refer to David Wilkie, the first being a quotation from Wilkie’s picture The Blind Fiddler (Tate N00099) and the second alluding to Wilkie’s inclusion of himself in his picture as a boy. Other figure studies on this leaf include the black servant also drawn on folio 4 verso of the sketchbook (D05355); see catalogue entry and Introduction to the sketchbook for this figure’s possible origin and connection with Wilkie’s The Village Holiday (Tate N00122). The studies on this leaf were evidently first drawn from life in pencil, but the group around the barrel has re-workings in ink, added later as Turner revised the material for his picture.

David Blayney Brown
December 2009

Butlin and Joll 1984, p.128 no.209 (pl.208).

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