With fluid handling, here Turner depicts the valley of the River Aire and Kirkstall Abbey, a ruined Cistercian monastery established in 1152. It is shown from the road to the north. At bottom right is a distant prospect of Kirkstall Abbey from the northwest and at bottom left, a separate detail of the Abbey gatehouse. The artist notes that there are ‘Children at play’ in the grounds of the monastery. This sketch is associated with Turner’s watercolour of Kirkstall Abbey produced for W.B. Cooke’s Rivers of England series (Tate D18146; Turner Bequest CCVIII M and Tate impressions T04810, T04811, T06371).1 See also Tate D18390; Turner Bequest CCX 48.
For more information see Alice Rylance-Watson, ‘Kirkstall Abbey, on the River Aire 1824 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, August 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-kirkstall-abbey-on-the-river-aire-r1146210.