Joseph Mallord William Turner

?Lord Egremont Fishing in the River Derwent at Cockermouth


Not on display
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 83 x 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXIII 56

Catalogue entry

For Turner at Cockermouth Castle in 1809 see chiefly notes to the Cockermouth sketchbook (Tate D07537–D07952; D40744–D40745; Turner Bequest CX). This fascinating sketch might be Turner’s first and most personal record of his patron and host, and an indication that Lord Egremont was in residence at the time of Turner’s visit; if so it is a foretaste of Turner’s coloured drawings of life at Petworth in the 1820s. A solitary figure, wrapped in a greatcoat against rain and chill, is seated overlooking the river. He is identified in Turner’s inscription and the bait he is using is also indicated, left. His position corresponds to that of the fishing jetty built out from the ‘Lands’, the best side of the Derwent for fishing, seen in the view from ‘Lord Egremont’s room’ in Cockermouth Castle which Turner drew in his Cockermouth sketchbook (Tate D07562; Turner Bequest CX 22). It is tempting to imagine Turner, himself a keen fisherman, joining Egremont in this favoured spot. The overgrown bank in the background to the left would correspond to the castle mount, below the north curtain wall, while the river running into the right distance would be the Derwent as it approaches its junction with the Cocker.

David Blayney Brown
August 2009

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