Joseph Mallord William Turner

Landscape and Windmill; Windmill; Walls and Gateway ?in Northern France


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 118 × 78 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXVI 19

Catalogue entry

Drawn with the book turned upside down, these rough and swiftly rendered sketches show a windmill within a landscape and what appears to be city walls or fortifications. Turner has made note of certain colours, such as the ‘dark’ and ‘cold Blue’ of the sky and a field of ‘Corn’ golden in the light. Turner has also inscribed the name of his friend and fellow English landscape artist, Augustus Wall Callcott (1779–1844); a note suggesting that the artist was reminded of aspects of Callcott’s painted landscapes whilst travelling through this region. As the art historian John Gage has written, it was rare for Turner to reference the art of his contemporaries. With the exception of Girtin and nods to Callcott, it was the landscapes of the Old Masters (Claude, Wilson, Gaspard or Cuyp) that Turner usually emulated and ‘project[ed] into the scenes presented to him on his tours’.1
Close to Callcott’s name is a final inscription which appears to read ‘Douai’: this is a northern French town located on the River Scarpe south-east of Calais which Turner may have passed through on his journey to Brussels.

Alice Rylance-Watson
February 2014

Gage 1967, p.97.

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