Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Thames at Isleworth with All Saints’ Church, Sion Ferry House, the Pavilion and Syon House Among Trees


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Support: 117 × 182 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XCVIII 11

Catalogue entry

Wilkinson describes this and folio 14 (D061980 as ‘classical with a faint air of Twickenham’ while Edward Croft-Murray, in pencil annotations to a copy of Finberg in Tate’s Library, recognised the composition as ‘Based on Isleworth motifs’. In fact they are not greatly idealised in this instance, the view, looking somewhat downstream as if from a boat, being a literal description of the riverside from the east end of All Saints’ past the ferry causeway, Turner’s own Sion (or Syon) Ferry House, seen behind a slender tree, and the Pavilion as far as Syon House. In folios 12–14 (D06196–D06198), Isleworth becomes progressively classicised as Turner’s imagination reaches back to antiquity. For Robert Mylne’s classically-styled Pavilion especially, the inspiration for this process, see notes to the contemporary Studies for Pictures: Isleworth sketchbook (Tate D05494; Turner Bequest XC 3). In the same sketchbook is a similar view, with Ferry House and the Pavilion but excluding the church (D05602; Turner Bequest XC 72a). As Hill points out, Turner’s variations on this stretch of river are in the spirit of his Isleworth plate for the Liber Studiorum (see especially Tate D08163; Turner Bequest CXVIII I). However, only folio 12 looks in the same upstream direction as the Liber composition.

David Blayney Brown
July 2008

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