Joseph Mallord William Turner

Stepping Stones, Possibly at Burley in Wharfedale


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In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

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Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 179 × 254 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXIV 83

Catalogue entry

This is possibly a view of the weir, with its ‘Rushing W[ater]’, on the River Wharfe in the countryside just north of Burley in Wharfedale, looking east down-river to the stepping stones which still cross the river. If so, on the right may be the entrance to the 1790s goit (a canal-like channel) which partly diverted the river to power local mills.1 There are figures crossing the stones and others around a horse and what may be a carriage near the small bridge, perhaps indicating a party visiting the scene with Turner while he was staying with his friend and patron Walter Fawkes at Farnley Hall, about three miles along the valley to the east (see under folio 1 verso; D09790).
There are stepping stones further up the Wharfe at Bolton Abbey (see under folio 7 recto; D09874; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 73), but other aspects of the scene do not correspond.
See Margaret and Dennis Warwick, ‘Burley Local History Group: A Brief History of Burley’, Burley in Wharfedale, accessed 15 July 2014,
Technical notes:
The surface is rubbed from contact with the rear paste-down (D40883). The recto of the sheet as bound is blank, but rubbed and stained, probably by glue, and with ‘4’ inscribed in pencil to the right of centre. Despite Finberg’s numbering the sheet without his usual ‘a’ suffix to indicate a verso, this page is now bound as the verso, with the Turner Bequest stamp upside down compared to the foliation.

Matthew Imms
July 2014

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