Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Pheasant’s Nest, on the River Washburn near Farnley Hall


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 188 × 263 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLIV H

Catalogue entry

This is one of three similarly-sized sketches (with D12105, D12107; Turner Bequest CLIV G, I) made on ‘Bristol Paper’1 and recording subjects in the Washburn Valley near Farnley Hall, the Yorkshire home of Turner’s patron Walter Fawkes. Peter Bower suggests that the three are rough quarters of a single sheet, originally approximately 394 x 520 mm, and that the fourth is missing (see notes on verso, below). Bower also points out that such material was only rarely used for sketching by Turner, and he speculates that it was obtained from Farnley Hall.2 Presumably the three sketches were all made on the same visit, and given the proximity of subjects, probably on the same excursion.
This sketch records the view from the right bank of the River Washburn below Lake Tiny near Farnley Hall looking upstream to a summerhouse called the Pheasant’s (or ‘Peasant’s’) Nest,3 with the houses belonging to the hamlet of Lindley on the distant hillside. It served as the basis The Pheasant’s Nest, Farnley Hall (National Gallery of South Africa, Cape Town),4 one of a series of forty so-called ‘sketches’ involving gouache made for Walter Fawkes c.1816–18. A small splash of blue colour, bottom right on the present sheet, presumably occurred as Turner worked on the finished version.
The sheet is neatly trimmed on three sides, but the left edge is torn, suggesting that is has perhaps been detached from a sketchbook, or at least separated from another, similar sized sheet.
The verso is D40299.

David Hill
July 2009

Bristol Paper is a laminate of two or more sheets of paper, with a highly glazed finish, named after the Earl of Bristol; see Bower 1990, p.108.
Bower 1990, p.109.
There is evidence for the summerhouse being known as the ‘Peasant’s’ Nest, but Turner himself called it ‘Pheasant’s’, see J. R. Piggott, ‘The Peasant’s Nest at Farnley’, Turner Society News, no.92, December 2002, pp.9–12.
Wilton 1979, p.370 no.603, where dated c.1818

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