Joseph Mallord William Turner

Richmond from the West

1816

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 173 x 260 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D11540
Turner Bequest CXLVIII 11 a

Catalogue entry

This is the left part of a double-page spread continued to the right on folio 23 recto (D11541; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 12, now bound opposite), recording a distant view of Richmond from the west, high above the left bank of the River Swale, looking downstream to the town with beyond it the plains of North Yorkshire stretching to the distant escarpment of the North Yorkshire Moors. The present writer has dated this sketch to Tuesday 30 July 1816; the direction of light on the castle keep indicates late afternoon. Here Turner was returning to a similar idea recorded in a quick sketch in the Yorkshire 2 sketchbook (Tate D11231; Turner Bequest CXLV 115a), taken from a more distant and southerly viewpoint on the opposite side of the river, probably as he first approached Richmond from Swaledale on the previous afternoon, Monday 29 July. The sketch formed the basis of a studio colour study (Tate D17204; Turner Bequest CXCVII N) and a finished watercolour of Richmond, Yorkshire (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge),1 presumably conceived for Thomas Dunham Whitaker’s proposed General History of the County of York (see sketchbook introduction) and perhaps painted about 1820. In the event, however, the watercolour was not used for the Yorkshire project and was published instead in 1827 in the later series, Picturesque Views in England and Wales.
Numbers inscribed on the recto (D11539; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 11) might relate to early exhibition or display of this sketch, but apparently not to display at Oxford since the number used there was different.

David Hill
May 2009

1
Wilton 1979, no.808.

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