Joseph Mallord William Turner

The House and Garden at ‘The Limes’, Mortlake, Looking North-East down the River Thames


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 113 × 187 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXIII 43 a

Catalogue entry

As has long been recognised,1 this drawing relates to the painting The Seat of William Moffatt Esq., at Mortlake. Early (Summer’s) Morning, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1826 (Frick Collection, New York);2 a companion piece, Mortlake Terrace, the Seat of William Moffatt, Esq. Summer’s Evening, was shown at the same venue the following year (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC).3 The most precise study for the morning view is on folio 11 recto (D18725), where profuse foliage is shown. In the present drawing, made in less detail with a softer or blunter pencil, the focus is on the trunks and branches of the trees, perhaps suggesting a return visit to the garden of ‘The Limes’ at Mortlake in the autumn or winter of 1825–6; see also the related view on folio 44 recto (D18773). As discussed in the sketchbook’s Introduction, in between is the jagged stub of another leaf, possibly with signs of a further drawing, which would presumably also have been a Mortlake view.
One of four separate Mortlake studies shows a similar view (Tate D25518; Turner Bequest CCLXIII a 3). Their status as direct sketches is uncertain, and one of them is watermarked 1826 (Tate D34018; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 299).
For more on the house, the paintings and other studies, see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

See Finberg 1909, II, p.649, Frick Collection, I, 1968, pp.131, 132 note 1, Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, p.103 and Butlin and Joll 1984, p.145.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.144–5 no.235, pl.236 (colour).
Ibid., pp.147–8 no.239, pl.237 (colour).

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