Joseph Mallord William Turner

The River Thames with Isleworth Ferry


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 260 × 370 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCV 45

Catalogue entry

This is a right-hand page from the sketchbook, and a similar view to Tate DO5916; Turner Bequest XCV 12 from the same source. Both are of the Thames near Isleworth ferry and Windsor Castle cannot appear in the right distance in this view, as Finberg supposed. The brick wall in the right foreground appears to be the same as in the view of Turner’s Sion (or Syon) Ferry House also from the sketchbook (D05952; Turner Bequest XCV 48); it must be the retaining wall at the mouth of The Duke of Northumberland’s River whose water had been diverted into Syon Park. The elegant curving tree shown near it in D05916 and D05952 is either omitted or just out of sight, however.
Hill notes that here the tide is lower than in D05916, and that as the shadows (cast very strongly by three figures at the river’s edge) indicate the sun low in the sky to the east, it was taken in the morning. The weather seems to threaten a shower. Compare also the watercolour of a similar view, with rainbow, in the contemporary Hesperides (1) sketchbook (Tate D05837; Turner Bequest XCIII 40a). In each of these views the foreground is occupied by barges and ferries.

David Blayney Brown
February 2009

Read full Catalogue entry


You might like

In the shop