Joseph Mallord William Turner

Hampton Court Palace from the River Thames; ?the Coast of the Isle of Wight near Ryde

c.1827

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 110 × 185 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D20738
Turner Bequest CCXXVII 3 a

Catalogue entry

The drawing is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation.
Subsequent to Finberg’s 1909 Inventory, both he and the Turner scholar C.F. Bell identified the subject here as ‘Hampton Court Palace, Water Gallery etc’;1 Jan Piggott2 has noted the link to Turner’s watercolour Hampton Court Palace of about 1827 (private collection),3 engraved in 1829 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impression: T04550).
The upper sketch presents the regular Baroque south front of the palace partly obscured by trees, looking across the Thames to the north-west, with the detached Banqueting House in the gardens towards the left and the turrets of the Tudor ranges beyond, much as shown in the watercolour, apparently with a written note of the ‘shallo[w]’ state of the river. At the centre right, Turner has shifted his viewpoint a little to the west to obtain a clear view of the Baroque façade, with a typically selective record of the stonework and fenestration. For other studies of the palace and its vicinity, see under folio 2 verso (D20736).
The other way up at the bottom right is a study of a wooded shoreline with scattered buildings, which may show the bank of the Thames nearby, or perhaps more likely the coast of the Isle of Wight near Ryde, as seen on folio 2 recto (D20735) and elsewhere in this sketchbook as noted under that page; the rough undulations in the foreground may indicate rocks on the beach. See also folio 4 recto opposite (D20739).
1
Undated MS notes by Finberg (died 1939) and C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copies of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, II, p.699.
2
See Piggott 2006, p.9.
3
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.395 no.812.
Technical notes:
There are brown marks towards the top left, one of which may be a deliberate horizontal brushstroke to test a watercolour mix, presumably in the course of producing the England and Wales watercolour.

Matthew Imms
November 2015

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