Joseph Mallord William Turner

Raby Castle and Park from the North


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 232 × 328 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLVI 22

Catalogue entry

The north side of the castle is seen from a little east of due north, with Mount Raskelf on the left, the Kitchen Tower with its high chimney in the middle, and Clifford’s Tower on the right, with the twin turrets of the detached gatehouse in front of it. There is a view from the same angle, but much closer and from a lower elevation, on folio 25 verso (D12283; CLVI 14). The panoramic view across country to the south continues to the left on folio 18 recto opposite (D12296; CLVI 21a), where Bulmer’s Tower, at the south-eastern corner of the castle also appears. There is a further continuation of trees to the left on folio 19 recto (D12278; CLVI 11a).
Butlin and Joll have noted this and folio 18 recto as forming ‘the most detailed and exact study’1 for the oil painting Raby Castle, the Seat of the Earl of Darlington, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1818 (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore).2 The general lines of the terrain and the profile of the castle are followed very carefully in the painting, and many of the trees in this drawing are also transcribed closely. For the contre-jour effect of sun through high cloud from the south, Turner resorted to a similar view, from lower and slightly further to the west, on folios 21 recto–20 verso (D12300, D12301; CLVI 23a–24), which he partly touched in watercolour to show the castle in shadow and light filtering through the foliage.
The foreground of the painting is deeper and the slope to the right rolling to provide an arena for the fox hunt which Turner placed there in reference to his patron’s sporting enthusiasms (see the introduction to the tour).
As now bound and foliated, sketches of the castle and its surroundings fill most of the second half of the sketchbook, from folio 17 recto (D12298; CLVI 22a) to folio 32 recto (D12309; CLVI 28).
Butlin and Joll 1984, p.101.
Ibid., pp.101–2 no.136, pl.142 (colour).
Technical notes:
The inscription ‘CLVI.22 part of 21a’ correctly links this half of the composition to the opposite page. The hand matches that of similar inscriptions on folios 15 verso and 16 recto (D12294, D12307; Turner Bequest CLVI 20, 27), which are initialled ‘EF’, signifying Edwin Fagg, the Tate Gallery’s Official Lecturer, who had supervised immediate restoration work on Turner Bequest works and compiled a report of the damage caused to them following the 1928 Tate flood.1

Matthew Imms
February 2010

See National Gallery Millbank: Review of the Acquisitions during the Years July, 1927–December, 1929, London 1930, pp.8–9.

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