This drawing has suffered by being on the back of part of a panoramic view of Raby from the north (D12300; CLVI 23a) which was extracted from the sketchbook and displayed in the nineteenth century. A large exhibit number is scrawled across the middle of the composition, just missing the castle. This is shown in summary outline only, but it appears from the juxtaposition of the large block on the right with the turrets to the left that the view is from the north-west, the block being Clifford’s Tower and the turrets those along the east front.
Unfortunately, when the sketchbook was later rebound (see introduction), it was not appreciated that the present composition is continued to the left a little way onto what is now folio 17 recto (D12298; CLVI 22a), where various buildings and other features on this side of the park are sketched and labelled in isolation. Two trees to the left here and a third, numbered ‘3’ to the right, are drawn separately in more detail and numbered ‘1, ‘2’ and ‘3’ respectively on what was originally the opposite page, where there is also a miniature repetition of the overall view with the three trees marked once again.
The sketch is a less finished variation on two panoramic studies from similar viewpoints for the painting Raby Castle, the Seat of the Earl of Darlington, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1818 (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore).1 These are on folios 19 recto, 18 recto and 17 verso (D12278, D12296, D12297; CLVI 11a, 21a–22) and folios 21 recto (the recto of the present sheet as already mentioned)–20 verso (D12300, D12301; CLVI 23a–24). There is a further similar view on folio 22 recto opposite (D12287; Turner Bequest CLVI 16).
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 (discussed above) to folio 32 recto (D12309; CLVI 28).
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.101–2 no.136, pl.142 (colour).
The sheet was been trimmed at the right without the use of a straight edge to facilitate the mounting and display of the other side, the usual width of pages in this sketchbook being 328 mm. A band of trees in the distance now continues to the very edge, and presumably part of the sketch was lost when the leaf was cut down. Scattered brown glue stains are evident from when the page was stuck down at that time. There are rough pencil marks towards the head and tail of the gutter, presumably relics of the mounting process.