Joseph Mallord William Turner

Trees beside Water, Perhaps Lake Tiny on the Farnley Estate

c.1816–24

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 353 × 518 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25157
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 35

Catalogue entry

Since, in making the only published suggestion as to this somewhat generic and landmark-free work’s subject, Eric Shanes has tentatively proposed it as a view of Lake Tiny,1 near the River Washburn on Walter Fawkes’s Farnley estate, it has been placed in this section. The dating is highly speculative, placing it between Turner’s extensive Yorkshire tour of 1816 including time at Farnley, and his last visit in 1824; see under Tate D17771 (Turner Bequest CCIII N), one of five views of trees beside the Washburn perhaps made on that last occasion. Three finished watercolours of Lake Tiny, made for Fawkes around 1818 (private collection; Hereford Museum; Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery)2 show wider vistas.
The subject is effectively insoluble, and if not associated with Farnley the sheet might date from considerably later. Finberg linked it with Tate D25136 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 14), dated in the present catalogue to about 1834 and connected with a subject in the Picturesque Views in England and Wales series, presumably on the formal grounds of their fortuitously sharing strong diagonal bands of light and shadow running down from the top right.3
1
See Shanes 1997, p.103.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.370 no.606, reproduced, ibid., no.607, reproduced, and p.372 no.621, reproduced.
3
See Lindsay 1966, pl.IV, reproducing the two together.
Verso:
Blank; inscribed by ?John Ruskin in pencil ‘AB 92 P | O’ towards bottom right; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII.35’ towards bottom right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLXIII – 35’ towards bottom left.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

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