Joseph Mallord William Turner

Rural Landscape with Cottages amongst Fields by a Road; Horses and Ploughmen Returning from Work


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Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 186 × 227 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLV 1

Catalogue entry

This sketch is unusual for Turner in that it lacks any distinguishing landmark or feature. Instead Turner records a low-key rural scene of small cottages amongst fields. The two foreground cottages appear to have been built in an old quarry. During the first decade of the nineteenth century Turner was particularly interested in working lives in rural communities. The way in which these cottages efface themselves is quite the opposite of the usually demonstrative situations of gentlemen’s residences. Typically he is also sensitive to bucolic events and notes the passing ploughman and his team.
Identifiable sketches once near this in the sketchbook, beginning with D12241; Turner Bequest CLV 2, could depict subjects around Cassiobury, near Watford, and on the nearby Grand Union Canal and it is possible that this scene is one of rural Hertfordshire or Buckinghamshire.
Blank, except for an inscription by ?John Ruskin in red ink ‘Book No. 164’

David Hill
June 2009

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