Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketch for ‘The Banks of the Loire’


Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 489 × 403 mm
frame: 570 × 485 × 55 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Display caption

Turner may have begun this small canvas in Italy in 1828 as a study for a larger painting, working from his recollections of his gouache study of the Folies-Siffait, a rather obscure site on the Loire near Oudon. He had received the commission for the finished picture (recently reidentified as ‘The Banks of the Loire’) from Sir Willoughby and Lady Julia Gordon, who specifically requested an upright composition (an unusual format for Turner) to complement the two small pictures they already owned by the artist.

Gallery label, February 2010

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Catalogue entry

281. [N05484] Landscape with a Castle on a Promontory c. 1820–30?


Canvas, 19 1/4 × 15 7/8 (49 × 40·5)

Coll. Turner Bequest 1856 (? 270*, I unidentified 1'7" × 1'4"; see below); transferred to the Tate Gallery 1947.

Lit. Davies 1946, pp. 158–9, 190 n. 26.

Probably, in view of its unusual dimensions, the work originally listed as 270 in the 1854 Schedule, but renumbered 270* in the margin and in the second, 1856, Schedule. For the reason the number was changed see No. 529 [N05544].

This is a particularly fragmentary and unresolved composition, with a foreground tree, either unfinished or in the course of alteration, and a castle on a promontory projecting into a wide expanse of water beyond. Though the style and handling are completely typical of Turner, it is difficult to relate this to any other work, or to date it save very generally in the middle of Turner's career.

Published in:
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984

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