Joseph Mallord William Turner

Holme Hall, Holme in Cliviger


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 329 × 225 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XLV 14 a

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the subject is continued on folio 15 recto opposite (D01929). Architectural details are noted above and below in the present part of the drawing. The fact that Turner allotted two pages of a large book to the portrait of this house, which is of no particular architectural interest, suggests that it is the home of one of his patrons, though no finished view of it is known. The obvious candidate is Thomas Dunham Whitaker (see the sketchbook’s Introduction), who had been licensed to the perpetual curacy of Holme in Cliviger, Lancashire, in 1797, only a year or two before Turner began working on the illustrations to his History of Whalley. Holme is on the Burnley-Todmorden road, two miles south-east of Towneley Hall.
Whitaker’s house, Holme Hall, later known as The Holme, had been lived in by his family since 1760, and had been enlarged at different times.1 Having remained essentially Jacobean when Turner saw it and recorded it here, it was more radically modified in the nineteenth century, when it was the home of Sir James York Scarlett, an officer in the Crimean War. The altered building has been described by Nikolaus Pevsner in 1969 as an ‘attractive, low, two-storeyed stone house with centre and two wings with low-pitched gables’;2 it has since been much damaged by fire. Whitaker must have entertained the artist here in the course of his tour.
Later, in 1809, Whitaker became Vicar of Whalley, having been presented by the Archbishop of Canterbury;3 later still he became Vicar of Blackburn. He is buried in the church of St John the Divine, Holme in Cliviger, which he built in 1794 and where he is commemorated by a bust by C.R. Smith, dated 1876, of which a plaster copy was recorded by Warburton in the Holme itself. Opposite the gates of The Holme rise the strange gritstone cliffs of Cliviger Gorge, which Turner noted in four quick sketches in this book, on the versos of folios 37, 38, 39 and 40 (D01972, D01974, D01976, D01978).

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

See Stanley Warburton, Turner and Dr. Whitaker, exhibition catalogue, Towneley Hall Art Gallery & Museums, Burnley 1982, p.9.
Nikolaus Pevsner, Lancashire: The Rural North, The Buildings of England, Harmondsworth 1969, p.146.
See Warburton 1982, p.9.

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