Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Pheasant’s Nest, Farnley Park


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 129 × 205 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXXXIX 1

Catalogue entry

This is one of a small number of drawings in this sketchbook made while Turner was staying with Walter Fawkes of Farnley Hall, Wharfedale, as he did annually for many years. It depicts the rustic summer-house on the banks of the River Washburn below Lake Tiny on the Farnley estate.
This sketch, continued slightly inside the front cover (D40814), is, as Finberg recognised, the origin of the watercolour The Pheasant’s Nest (private collection)1 made for Fawkes about 1818 and subsequently in the collections of John Ruskin and Arthur Severn. The present title is derived from Ruskin’s correction, ‘Pheasant’s, I suppose’, pencilled alongside the catalogue entry for the watercolour when it was exhibited as the ‘Peasant’s Nest’ at the Fine Art Society in 1878.2 Miss Fawkes also referred to the Peasant’s Nest in The Washburn and other Poems (1879). Turner himself, however, notes two views, ‘6 Pheasant Nest’ and ‘7 Ditto Door’ in the Farnley sketchbook (Tate D12011, D12013; Turner Bequest CLIII 10a, 11a), vindicating Ruskin’s amendment. ‘7’ was presumably the watercolour made from the present drawing as another (South African National Gallery, Cape Town)3 is a more distant view.
In the sketchbook, this drawing is adjacent to one of the ‘Woodwalk’ at Farnley that Turner used for another watercolour for Fawkes (see folio 2, D10344). Hill, Warburton and Tussey suggest that the drawings were made at Farnley in November 1818. See the Introduction to the sketchbook for the same authors’ belief that these drawings and others of Wharfedale near Farnley at the back of the book were made on different occasions.
Wilton 1979, p.370 no.604.
Drawings by the late J.M.W. Turner, R.A., Fine Art Society, London, 1878 (29).
Wilton 1979, p.370 no.603.

David Blayney Brown
May 2011

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