Joseph Mallord William Turner

Moonrise over Hills and Water, Perhaps in the Thames Valley


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 18 a

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, Turner has used the upper third to record a colour effect at moonrise, albeit by pencil annotations rather than with actual pigments. He notes the ‘Lead’ of the sky, apparently emphasised by contrast with the ‘crimson’ colour of the moon, which may be a full orange-red autumnal Harvest Moon, apparently rising over low, wooded slopes beyond a river or lake, in which it is reflected both as a semi-circle and a zigzag line.
Finberg read the second word as ‘Winsor’, possibly taking it as a reference to Windsor, on the River Thames, a frequent subject for Turner;1 he identified the drawing on folio 32 verso (D17815) as ‘Windsor Castle, from river’, although this identification is questionable.
For other sky studies in this book, see the entry for the inside of the front cover (D40982), and for Thames views, see under folio 2 recto (D17775).

Matthew Imms
November 2014

See for instance David Hill, Turner on the Thames: River Journeys in the Year 1805, New Haven and London 1993, pp.63–75.

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