Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Isleworth, with a Stormy Sky; the Tower of London from the River Thames


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 190 × 111 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCIV 33 a

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, Turner has used the outer third to record a storm over a river setting with small boats and the characteristic mast and boom of a Thames barge. The setting may be Isleworth, his old haunt near Richmond, looking north-west to the classical rotunda of the Pavilion at the corner of Syon Park on the left; compare the sketches on folio 9 verso (D17786), under which the subject is discussed, and 36 verso (D17824). The same storm may be recorded on the recto (D17816). For other sky and cloud studies, see the entry for the inside of the front cover (D40982).
Inverted relative to the foliation is part of a view of the waterfront of the Tower of London from the River Thames, and a detail of associated buildings above. This is a continuation of the full-page view on folio 34 recto opposite (D17814), under which the subject is discussed. Prominent on the present page is the hulk of the Perseus, a former 22-gun Royal Navy frigate1 moored on the river. The bows of such a vessel appear more prominently in a similar juxtaposition in Turner’s watercolour of the Tower of about 1825 (private collection),2 as discussed in the entry for D17819.
For other London and Thames views in the present book, see under folio 2 recto (D17775).
See van der Merwe 1991, pp.12, 13.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.358 no.515.
Technical note:
Finberg’s 1909 Inventory inadvertently listed the number ‘33a’ twice in relation to the two studies on this sheet,1 leading to the creation of a spurious second Tate accession number which has since been cancelled (see the sketchbook’s Introduction).

Matthew Imms
November 2014

Finberg 1909, I, p.619.

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