Joseph Mallord William Turner

Upper Wensleydale from above West Burton, Aysgarth in the Middle Distance


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 125 × 206 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CXLVII 10

Catalogue entry

From the northern edge of West Burton village Turner followed the lane from Flanders Hall for about a mile of quite steep climbing to reach a rock outcrop above Sorrelsykes Park. From here there is a panoramic view of Upper Wensleydale, looking over Aysgarth Church to the left of centre and Addleborough to the left, with the high moors above Askrigg and Hawes closing the distance. The ‘x’ in the left centre distance marks the vicinity of Hardraw and Cotter Force where he had sketched on the days immediately preceding (D11455). A sketch in the Yorkshire 2 sketchbook (Tate D11272; Turner Bequest CXLV 136a), made on the same visit, effectively continues the panorama to the left.
The effort required to reach this vantage point, and the fact that Turner seems to have made the climb solely for the view, rather than to continue on his main route, prompts the question of how he got to hear of it and found his way there. He presumably had local directions, and the scenery of the area appears to have had some local celebrity at least, from the presence of the nearby Belvedere Temple recorded two pages later in the sketchbook, on folio 12 recto (D11460).

David Hill
February 2009

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