Joseph Mallord William Turner

Sketches of ?Otley from Caley Park


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 267 × 197 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Catalogue entry

These landscape sketches, not recorded in Finberg’s Turner Bequest Inventory,1 are on the verso of a watercolour study for an unpublished Liber Studiorum plate, The Felucca (Tate D08175; Turner Bequest CXVIII U). As with another unpublished Liber subject, Moonlight on the Medway (Tate D25451; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 328), the sheet appears to be a complete leaf from a sketchbook, which Gillian Forrester has linked with the dispersed ‘Munro’ book2 in both cases; its pages were watermarked 1822 and it was probably in use in 1824, during Turner’s last visit to his friend and patron Walter Fawkes at Farnley Hall, near Leeds.3
Finberg’s first publication of the ‘Munro’ sketchbook did not include a page-by-page catalogue, but comparable pencil sketches of scenes in the Farnley neighbourhood were reproduced,4 along with looser watercolour and ‘sepia’ compositions5 (rapid watercolour cloud and landscape studies from the sketchbook have also since appeared on the art market). Forrester has suggested that the present sketches ‘may represent Otley from Caley Park’ by comparison with a view in the Large Farnley sketchbook (Tate D09056; Turner Bequest CXXVIII 40).6 Similar millstone grit outcrops are recorded elsewhere in the book (D09025; CXXVIII 9), in the Farnley sketchbook (various drawings between Tate D12004–D12016; Turner Bequest CLIII 6–13) and on a separate sheet (Tate D12104; Turner Bequest CLIV F); several finished works were produced from these sketches,7 among the extensive series of bodycolour views near Farnley made for Fawkes, some of which included hunters, dogs and deer. The figures in the upper drawing here are doing something with a ‘gun’ according to Turner’s inscription, while the lone observer in the lower drawing may be scanning the valley with a telescope.

Matthew Imms
May 2006

A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909.
Forrester 1996, p.146.
See A.J. Finberg, ‘Turner’s Newly Identified Yorkshire Sketch-book’, Connoisseur, vol.46, October 1935, pp.185–7; The Life of J.M.W. Turner, R.A. Second Edition, Revised, with a Supplement, by Hilda F. Finberg, revised ed., Oxford 1961, pp.286–7.
Finberg 1935, p.186.
Ibid., pp.185, 187.
Forrester 1996, p.146.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.371 nos.613, 615–618, reproduced.

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