Joseph Mallord William Turner

The Washburn Valley, with Lindley Bridge and Hall


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 446 × 593 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CLIV W

Catalogue entry

This is one of ten large pencil drawings including D12110, D12111, D12113, D12115, D12116, D12117, D12118, D12119 and D12120 (Turner Bequest CLIV L, M, N, Q, R, S, T, U, V), that form a coherent group of views in the Wharfe and Washburn Valleys near Farnley Hall, the Yorkshire home of Turner’s patron Walter Fawkes, and record a tour up the River Wharfe from Farnley to Bolton Abbey. Several formed the bases of finished watercolours, some of which are dateable to 1809. The present writer has dubbed the group the ‘Wharfedale and Washburn’ sketchbook, and although the drawings do not actually form a sketchbook, they nevertheless appear to represent a single campaign, probably in the summer of 1808 on Turner’s first visit to Farnley. It is remarkable that Turner chose to sketch in pencil on such large sheets as these, and it is not at all clear what purpose the large scale was supposed to serve. They must have been problematic to handle in the open air, and we must presume that weather conditions were benign to have made it at all feasible to work with them.
The present sketch shows a view in the lower Washburn Valley not far from Farnley Hall, taken from a viewpoint on the right bank of the river looking upstream to Lindley Bridge, with Lindley Hall on the hill above. The sketch formed the basis of a studio watercolour, Valley of the Washburn and Lindley Bridge (private collection)1 painted for Walter Fawkes about 1809. Turner later returned to the same subject but from a slightly closer viewpoint in another sketch in this series of large sheets (Tate D12122; Turner Bequest CLIV Xa).
Wilton 1979, p.372 no.625.

David Hill
July 2009

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