Joseph Mallord William Turner

Henley-on-Thames, with St Mary’s Church


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 69 × 112 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXII 6 a

Catalogue entry

Drawn inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the tower of St Mary the Virgin’s Church at Henley-on-Thames is seen to the left, with hills beyond. The foreground is indicated only slightly, and it is unclear whether the features beyond the trees represent the waterfront along the west bank of the River Thames parallel to the picture plane or at an angle receding to the right, making the line of sight towards the west or the north-west respectively. For comparison, two 1690s paintings by Jan Siberechts (1627–c.1700) show these corresponding aspects: Landscape with Rainbow, Henley-on-Thames (Tate T00899) and Henley from the Wargrave Road (River & Rowing Museum, Henley).
Turner also made drawings around Henley in the Thames, from Reading to Walton sketchbook (Tate D05911, D05912, D05930; Turner Bequest XCV 7, 8, 26). The first of these shows the church and town from the road on Remenham Hill, looking west from what seems to be a similar viewpoint, but the route is now lined with trees obscuring the prospect.
There are various identified and likely subjects along the Thames in the present sketchbook, as discussed in the Introduction. The drawing on folio 20 verso (D08314) may be another Henley view.

Matthew Imms
September 2013

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