Joseph Mallord William Turner

Huntsmen, Horses and Hounds at Raby Castle


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 328 × 232 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLVI 12 a

Catalogue entry

The group of figures,1 horses and dogs towards the top left was followed fairly closely in the left foreground of Turner’s watercolour of Raby Castle (currently untraced),2 engraved in 1820 for Surtees’s History of Durham (see the introduction to the tour). There are other studies for the composition on folios 24 recto, 25 recto and 31 verso (D12282, D12284, D12293; CLVI 13a, 14a, 19a).
The dog towards the top right was included, almost unchanged, towards the bottom left of the watercolour. There are also disembodied details of heads, legs (both animal and human) and tails. In the lower half are a further full-length study of the horseman, a larger study of his face, partly obscured by the brim of his tall hat, and details of his whip and the folds of his long riding coat.
Prominent patches of blue, pink and brown watercolour at the edges of the sheet suggest that Turner had it to hand while working on the finished design. There is a much-folded sheet in a private collection with an isolated study of the same horse and rider picked out in delicate colour washes, which Turner transcribed directly into the finished composition;3 the sheet is worn and crumpled but retains its straight edges, and at some 260 x 200 mm does not equate to the pages in the present sketchbook, but is clearly connected in terms of its subject.
Andrew Loukes has suggested that given Turner’s ‘fixation’ or ‘preoccupation’ with the mounted figure, that it may represent the 3rd Earl of Darlington,4 Turner’s host at Raby in 1817, when the artist’s major activity was preparing for the commissioned painting Raby Castle, the Seat of the Earl of Darlington (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore),5 which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1818. There are pencil studies of Lord Darlington in the National Portrait Gallery, London, by the sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey; made in about 1820, they show him full-face and in profile, and the nose and strong jaw-line are not inconsistent with those of the face in Turner’s sketches.
See Rudd 2006, p.47.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.364 no.558.
Loukes 2004, p.[10], reproduced.
Ibid., p.[10].
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.101–2 no.136, pl.142 (colour).
Ibid., p.102.
Loukes 2004, p.[10].

Matthew Imms
February 2010

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