Joseph Mallord William Turner

Trees, ?Northern France

c.1826

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Dimensions
Support: 146 × 274 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D20215
Turner Bequest CCXX I

Catalogue entry

This colour sketch of the trees was first documented by John Ruskin as one of several of works depicting Dieppe and its environs. As A.J. Finberg noted in his 1909 inventory of the Turner Bequest, Ruskin grouped this work together with twenty other ‘slight coloured sketches, chiefly from Dieppe’. 1 A note which was once appended to this parcel of works reveals that Ruskin held them in low regard, judging that they had been executed ‘in some careless or sickly state of mind’. 2 The work itself provides no firm evidence for Ruskin’s identification. Although Ian Warrell has upheld the Dieppe connection, other Turner specialists have suggested alternative locations.3 Finberg himself proposed a connection to the 1828 Italian tour while Eric Shanes has mooted Greenwich Park as a possible subject.4
1
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.II, p.686.
2
Ibid.
3
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Loire, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, pp.23–4, 159.
4
Eric Shanes, Turner’s Watercolour Explorations 1810–1842, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.99.
Verso:
Inscribed in pencil with the notes ‘4’ (circled) in the centre of the sheet, and ‘I’ and ‘D.20215’ in the bottom right-hand corner.

John Chu
March 2016

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