Joseph Mallord William Turner

Study for ‘Rokeby’

1822

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 174 x 249 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25409
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 286

Catalogue entry

This is one of four loose ‘colour beginnings’ related to the 1822 watercolour Rokeby (The Higgins, Bedford),1 showing a rocky, wooded ravine on the River Greta (see also Tate D25371, D25408 and D25411; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 249, 285, 288). This connection was established by Eric Shanes;2 see under D25371 for discussion of the circumstances, subject and composition of the finished design.
Only this variation of the four employs a horizontal format rather than the upright arrangement seen in the completed work; nevertheless, if the left-hand half is disregarded, the similarity is immediately clear. Eric Shanes has compared the setting to that of the secluded scene in the mid-1810s watercolour A Rocky Pool, with a Heron and a Kingfisher,3 traditionally known as ‘A Lonely Dell, Wharfedale’ (Leeds Museums and Art Galleries).4
1
Wilton 1979, p.424 no.1053, reproduced.
2
See Shanes 1997, pp.16–17, 30, 84–6, 97, 99, 101; see also Joll 2002, p.272, House 2006, p.12, and House 2013, p.31.
3
See Shanes 1997, p.84.
4
Wilton 1979, p.362 no.542, reproduced).
Verso:
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘69 | b’ right of centre; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLXIII – 286’ towards bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘D.25409’ bottom left.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

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