Joseph Mallord William Turner

Scenes on the River Thames around Isleworth, with ?Syon House


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 114 × 188 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXII 75 a

Catalogue entry

With the page turned vertically, there are four related sketches of scenes with houses on wooded banks. The precise views are unidentified, but presumably on the River Thames in the neighbourhood of Isleworth and Richmond, as in so many cases in this sketchbook; see the Introduction. The characteristic silhouettes of Thames barges are evident (see also folio 32 recto; D18636). Both Finberg and Turner scholar C.F. Bell suggested in undated notes that the subject is ‘Sion & Twickenham’,1 and the large building in the third view may be Syon House to the west across the Thames, north-east of Isleworth; see under folio 47 recto (D18652) for other views and compare the river views on folio 49 verso (D18655).
Apparently in relation to the Thames barge in the second sketch and the reflection of its sails, Turner has written some semi-legible observations, as tentatively transcribed above. It is unclear whether the last character in the second passage is a percentage sign or some sort of slight diagram. For another ‘Axiom’ on reflections, written at Richmond, see folio 90 verso (D18703).

Matthew Imms
December 2014

Undated MS notes by Finberg (died 1939) C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copies of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.647.

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