Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Cobbler’s Home


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Not on display

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Oil paint on canvas
Support: 597 × 800 mm
frame: 840 × 1040 × 125 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856

Display caption

Turner occasionally showed an interest in rustic narrative subjects, in the manner of the fashionable pictures of his colleague David Wilkie. These paintings show Turner's response to British life as well as landscape. This example is probably not entirely finished and was not exhibited, so it is difficult to date. Turner's interest in Wilkie's style was strongest around 1807-10, but the way the paint is applied is characteristic of Turner's work at a later date.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Catalogue entry

258. [N02055] The Cobbler's Home c. 1825


Mahogany, 23 1/2 × 31 1/2 (59·5 × 80)

Coll. Turner Bequest 1856 (? 155, ‘1 panel’ 2'7 1/2" × 2'0"); transferred to the Tate Gallery 1910.

Exh. Tate Gallery 1931 (29); Arts Council tour 1952 (6).

Lit. MacColl 1920, p. 33; Ziff 1980, p. 167; Marks 1981, p. 345.

A Wilkie-like interior of the kind first treated in A Country Blacksmith exhibited in 1807 (No. 68 [N00478]), and dated c. 1808–10 by MacColl. However in style it probably dates from the time of Turner's return to figure subjects in the early 1820s or even later; there are similarities in handling to the paintings of George IV's visit to Edinburgh in 1822 (Nos. 247 [N02857] and 248 [N02858]) and even to Pilate washing his Hands, exhibited in 1830 (No. 332 [N00510]).

Since the first edition of this catalogue both Ziff and Marks have supported the traditional, earlier dating but the liquid quality of the paint in particular, which is much more apparent in front of the actual picture than in reproduction, leads the compiler to retain a dating in the 1820s.

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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