Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Crook of Lune, and Part of a Panorama of the Kent Estuary from Near Milnthorpe


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 125 × 206 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLVII 35 a

Catalogue entry

The Crook of Lune is an exaggerated loop in the River Lune near Caton about three miles north-east of Lancaster. It was a particularly popular viewpoint after a description of it by the poet Thomas Gray was included in most contemporary guidebooks to the area.1 Turner’s sketch is taken from above a stone quarry on the road from Lancaster to Hornby, looking north-east over the Crook to Caton Bridge with Brookhouse Church in the middle distance far right and Hornby Castle in the centre distance, with the whole view closed by Ingleborough in the far distance, right. A few lines of the sketch are continued to the right on folio 36 recto opposite (D11500). The sketch formed the basis of a watercolour study (Tate D17199; Turner Bequest CXCVII I) and via that a finished watercolour, The Crook of Lune, Looking towards Hornby Castle (Courtauld Galleries, London)2 engraved for Thomas Dunham Whitaker’s History of Richmondshire, part of the projected seven-volume General History of the County of York (see Introduction to the sketchbook), and published in 1821. Sadly, the view is now hidden by trees, but the site is still frequented, being occupied by a popular caravan park.
The lifting tripod in the foreground, right, is part of the quarrying activity then on the site. Possibly the same tripod is recorded in a detail sketch in the Yorkshire 2 sketchbook (Tate D40845; Turner Bequest CXLV inside back cover), which accompanied Turner on the same tour. The same sketchbook contains other related sketches (Tate D11146–D11147; Turner Bequest CXLV 71a–72).
At the top right is part of the panorama of the Kent Estuary from near Milnthorpe, continued from D11500.

David Hill
February 2009

See, for example, Thomas West, A Guide to the Lakes, 3rd ed., 1784, pp.24–5.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, p.366 no.575.

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