Joseph Mallord William Turner

Trees by a Lake or River at Dawn or Dusk

c.1820–40

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 305 × 490 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D25230
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 108

Catalogue entry

The loose landscape forms here suggest trees or bushes reflected in a wide river or lake, while the pale yellow of the sky over the horizon indicates a scene at dawn or possibly dusk. Eric Shanes has tentatively suggested a connection to Turner’s work on a series of panoramic landscape paintings for Lord Egremont’s Carved Room at Petworth House in Sussex in the late 1820s,1 in particular Chichester Canal of about 1829 (Tate T03885, displayed at Petworth)2 and the full-size study Chichester Canal of about 1828 (Tate N00560),3 both roughly symmetrical compositions with trees flanking the broad canal, as well as the oil sketch now known as The Lake, Petworth, Sunrise (Tate N05563).4
Shanes also mentions another watercolour ‘beginning’, Tate D25147 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 25), which is comparable in its twilit mood with the latter painting. While all of these works depict low waterside terrain, the similarities are perhaps fortuitous. Compare also Tate D25233 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 111), watermarked 1828, and others in the present section: Tate D25182, D25191, D25300, D25303, D25363, D25495, D25498 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 60, 69, 178, 181, 241, 372, 375a).
1
See Shanes 1997, p.94.
2
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.168 no.290, pl.292 (colour).
3
Ibid., p.166 no.285, pl.287 (colour).
4
Ibid., p.165 no.282, pl.284 (colour), as ‘Evening Landscape, probably Chichester Canal’.
Technical notes:
Small areas of the blue towards the top have been lifted out to suggest light from the horizon catching the undersides of the clouds.
Verso:
Blank; laid down.

Matthew Imms
December 2015

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