In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 290 × 438 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCCLXV 2

Catalogue entry

Eric Shanes has tentatively compared this colour study with the watercolour Orford, Suffolk of about 1826 (private collection),1 engraved in 1827 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T04523, T04524, T06077).2 In the latter the castle and church are seen in warm, clear conditions across the River Ore from the south, whereas here the upright forms on the skyline loosely corresponding to the two buildings are threatened by the dynamic blue vortex of a rainstorm.
The details of the finished composition were taken from a pencil sketch in the Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex sketchbook of about the same date as 1824 (Tate D18304; Turner Bequest CCIX 86a). The castle and church are also seen in a compressed, vertical oval composition in a small gouache vignette on blue paper of about the same date as the England and Wales view (Indianapolis Museum of Art),3 engraved for Turner’s unpublished East Coast series. A connection between the present study and Orford is likely to remain speculative; it has recently been proposed as an 1840s work,4 which would place it beyond the scope of England and Wales, the last plates of which were published in 1838.
See also the introductions to the present subsection of identified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which this work has been assigned.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.393 no.796, reproduced.
Shanes 1997, pp.97, 107.
Wilton 1979, p.405 no.897, reproduced.
Warrell 2013, pp.202, 250.
Blank (not examined out of frame).

Matthew Imms
March 2013

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