Joseph Mallord William Turner

View Towards ?Penrith


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 74 × 94 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXIV 47 a

Catalogue entry

This view from a road on a hill looks between trees towards a flatter landscape with hills in the distance. In the foreground the road descends towards a town, and a shape that may represent several figures occupies the road. Turner’s inscription may help to locate the viewpoint and identify the parts of the picture. It appears to read: ‘Penrith Church | St [?]Mburgh Hil’. The second part of the inscription may refer to Mayburgh Henge, a prehistoric circular stone bank with a single remaining stone at its centre. Indeed, the view may be from near Mayburgh, as there appears to be a multi-arched bridge in the middle distance at the right of the sketch which could be Eamont Bridge just south of Penrith. Beyond the town is Beacon Hill.
Turner made studies of Mayburgh Henge in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border sketchbook (Tate D25812; Turner Bequest CCLXVI 26 a) in preparation for the vignette illustration to volume 11 (The Bridal of Triermain) of Sir Walter Scott’s Poetical Work: Mayburgh circa 1832 (whereabouts unknown).1 There are sketches of Penrith Castle on folio 34 verso in this sketchbook (D25590) and views of Beacon Hill in the Minstrelsy sketchbook (Tate D25814; Turner Bequest CCLXVI 27 a). The sketch on folio 48 of the present sketchbook (D25616) shows the same path or road that Turner stood on to draw this sketch.

Thomas Ardill
September 2009

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.429 no.1091.

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