Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Thames at Mortlake, Looking North-East towards Barnes


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 44 a

Catalogue entry

This is a view down the River Thames, looking north-east from the bank in the vicinity of ‘The Limes’, Mortlake. This stretch of the waterfront has a similar low-rise character today, although it is difficult to match individual buildings here to survivors among later additions. The nearer part of the view is inverted relative to the more careful sketch of the distance, which was presumably made first.
There is a similar view on folio 13 recto (D18728), which was carefully transcribed in the painting of ‘The Limes’, The Seat of William Moffatt Esq., at Mortlake. Early (Summer’s) Morning, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1826 (Frick Collection, New York).1 Like that on the recto (D18773), the present drawing was perhaps made during a return visit to the garden of ‘The Limes’ in the autumn or winter of 1825–6. The main source for the painting’s overall composition is folio 11 recto (D18725); for more on the house, the painting and related studies, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.144–5 no.235, pl.236 (colour).

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