Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Thames from Richmond Hill; Sailing Boats; ?a Sky or Cloud Study

c.1825

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 114 × 188 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D18704
Turner Bequest CCXII 91

Catalogue entry

Inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, across the right-hand, original half of the page (see the Technical notes) is a continuation of the view of the River Thames from Richmond Hill on folio 90 verso opposite (D18703), under which the subject is discussed. The slight outline of a building on the present section is labelled ‘Star and Garter’, referring to the inn on the site of a subsequent hotel and, from 1924 to 2013, the residential Royal Star & Garter Home for disabled ex-military personnel.1 At the top right is an architectural colour note which continues briefly on the other page with a word possibly beginning ‘Sh’.
Across the middle of the page, drawn with it turned vertically, is a cluster of at least three sailing boats, which could have been observed on the Thames; it has also been suggested that some of the drawings at each end of this book were made when Turner visited the Low Countries in August 1825 (see the Introduction).
Towards the edge of the surviving section of the original page are scattered marks of blue pigment. They may have been adventitious, but the presence of watercolour offsetting across the outer part of the opposite page suggested that there may have been a tinted sky or cloud study on this one. Compare the watercolour sky on folio 2 recto (D18597), and see the Introduction for the substantial series of watercolour sky and landscape compositions in the first half of this book.
1
See ‘Our History’, The Royal Star & Garter Homes, accessed 23 December 2014, http://starandgarter.org/about-us/history/.
Technical notes:
Finberg noted that ‘Page 91 is partly torn’,1 and the loss has since been made good, the outer 68 mm having been replaced with modern, slightly off-white wove paper.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

1
Finberg 1909, II, p.647.

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