Joseph Mallord William Turner

Kirkstall Abbey on the River Aire


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 187 × 236 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLV 14

Catalogue entry

One of six Kirkstall subjects from this sketchbook, this sketch records a view of Kirkstall Abbey from the south-south-east, looking at the ruins over the weir on the River Aire. In this Turner was returning to the same viewpoint that he had sketched in 1797 in the North of England sketchbook (Tate D00922; Turner Bequest XXXIV 16), which in turn had formed the basis of a studio watercolour, Kirkstall Abbey, Yorkshire (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge).1 Turner reverted to this viewpoint on other occasions; in 1808 or later in the Kirkstall sketchbook (Tate D07258, D07260; Turner Bequest CVII 2, 3) and about 1823 in the Brighton and Arundel sketchbook (Tate D18390, D18391; Turner Bequest CCX 48, 48a).
For Kirkstall Abbey in this sketchbook see notes to D12254; Turner Bequest CLV 13.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.324 no.224.
Not visible since stuck down, but one inscription (?by one of the Executors of the Turner Bequest) in pencil ?‘Sched 164.3’ may be seen through the recto, and is confirmed by the inscription on the mount ‘Kirkstall p.3 (164)’. The majority of pages in this sketchbook are similarly inscribed (for the significance of this see notes to Tate D12241. D12244; Turner Bequest CLV 2, 4a).
Also inscribed on the verso of the mount board, by an unknown hand in pencil ‘Unmounted/ CLV/ Box 97’, bottom right, presumably in relation to a previous Turner Bequest box system in which the drawing was stored.

David Hill
June 2009

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