Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rosehill Park


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 200 × 325 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXVIII 10

Catalogue entry

Probably a left-hand page of the sketchbook, this has stitch holes in the right margin.
Rosehill (now Brightling) Park was the estate of John Fuller. As Eric Shanes was the first to observe, this drawing was used as the basis for the painting Rosehill Park, Sussex made by Turner for Fuller in 1810 (private collection)1 when he was also collecting material for watercolours of scenery nearby (see Introduction to the sketchbook). The house stands in the distance on the left, beside a clump of trees. Turner notes deer in the foreground and sheep nearer the house, both of which he included in the picture. A more expansive and presumably first impression of this view runs across three leaves in the Hastings sketchbook (Tate D07623–D107625; Turner Bequest CXI 20a–22).
The deer park at Rosehill was laid out circa 1745–50. Turner’s view clearly shows the exposed position of the house, sheltered only on one side. This was one of the objections made by Humphry Repton when Fuller hired him to remodel the estate in 1806. In a Red Book, Repton recommended rebuilding the house, in Gothic style, elsewhere in the park, or alternatively the planting of many more trees. Fuller did not implement all these plans. Instead he carried out more limited planting and employed Robert Smirke to remodel the existing house and add various eyecatchers to the park, the subjects of later drawings by Turner.
The close relationship of this drawing to the 1810 picture was not mentioned by Butlin and Joll, who cite only drawings in the two Hastings sketchbooks (the aforementioned three-page spread; and, later in date, Tate D10392–D10393; Turner Bequest CXXXIX 33a-34). See also, from the present sketchbook, D10342; Turner Bequest CXXXVIII 19, the basis of Turner’s watercolour The Vale of Pevensey, from Rosehill Park (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge)2 which, as Shanes remarks, was clearly intended to complement the oil.3
There is a small sketch of Brightling church on the verso (D10330; Turner Bequest CXXXVIII 10a).

David Blayney Brown
April 2011

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.130 no.211 (pl.212).
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.349 no.432)
Shanes 1981, p.18.

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