Joseph Mallord William Turner

Mossdale Upper Falls, Wensleydale


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 173 × 260 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLVIII 16

Catalogue entry

This is the left and main part of a double-page spread, continued to the right in a few lines on folio 37 verso (D11550; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 17, now bound opposite), recording the upper falls at Mossdale in Wensleydale about two and three quarter miles north-west of Hawes. Turner made a number of sketches of the falls at Mossdale in this sketchbook, on folios 31 verso, 32 verso and 33 verso (D11568, D40861, D11576; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 27a, 25a, 31a), which the present writer dates to Saturday 27 July 1816.
This sketch formed the basis of a studio watercolour, Moss Dale Fall (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge),1 painted about 1816–17 for Thomas Dunham Whitaker’s seven-volume General History of the County of York (see sketchbook introduction) and engraved by Samuel Middiman in 1822 for the completed part, History of Richmondshire. Eric Shanes has provided a concentrated analysis of the way in which Turner adapted the material of the sketch into the finished composition.2
Finberg wrongly associated this page with folio 30 recto (D11548; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 15a), but the mistake had been noticed and the book rebound accordingly prior to the present writer’s 1984 book. In the present binding, however, the sketch of Mossdale Falls is inverted in relation to the main sequence of subjects, and the Mossdale subjects are interrupted by sketches of Kilnsey in Wharfedale made some days earlier in the itinerary. A fairly comprehensive reordering of this part of the book appears to be required. For further comment see notes to folio 33 verso (D11576; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 31a).
Wilton 1979, pp.365–6 no.572.
Shanes 1990, p.259.

David Hill
May 2009

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