Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Summer-house and Garden at ‘The Limes’, Mortlake, Looking West up the River Thames


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 145 × 228 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIII a 2

Catalogue entry

This sketch relates to Turner’s oil painting Mortlake Terrace, the Seat of William Moffatt, Esq. Summer’s Evening, shown at the Royal Academy in 1827 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC).1 As noted in the Introduction to the present subsection, this is one of four drawings which are supplementary or complementary to studies in the Mortlake and Pulborough sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXIII), probably in use at Mortlake in 1825. The direct source for Summer’s Evening is a double-page Mortlake and Pulborough sketch (Tate D18733–D18734; Turner Bequest CCXIII 15a–16), and the juxtaposition of the tree trunks in the latter is followed very closely in the painting. The spacing and details of the trees in the present view suggest it was drawn independently on the spot from a viewpoint nearer to the summer-house. Compare also Tate D25516 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII a 1), a rather more detailed reprise of the same subject.
Butlin and Joll 1984, pp.147–8 no.239, pl.237 (colour).
Technical notes:
Finberg describes the work as in ‘Pencil and white chalk on grey’ paper,1 but in common with the other three separate Mortlake studies (Tate D25516, D25518, D34018; Turner Bequest CCLXIII a 1, 3, CCCXLI 299) the paper appears merely off-white, presumably through age, with brown mottling, more prominent and extensive here than on the other sheets. There is now no obvious evidence of the white chalk he mentions.
The edges are all slightly irregular, and the bottom edge appears to have been formed by folding a larger sheet and tearing along the fold, as there is appears to be a shallow remnant below the fold. There is an irregular piece missing at the top left, measuring some 14 x 51 mm, which may relate to the shallow diagonal creases at the top right of both D25516 and D25518 and the top left of D34018, suggesting that the four sheets were at least initially kept together.
Finberg 1909, II, p.845.
Blank (laid down).

Matthew Imms
December 2014

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