Joseph Mallord William Turner

Views on the River Thames around Isleworth


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Watercolour on paper
Support: 188 × 114 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXII 47

Catalogue entry

Both Finberg and Turner scholar C.F. Bell suggested in undated notes that this page and the similar folio 46 verso opposite (D18651) show ‘Sion House, Isleworth, with Sion “Alcove” &c’; they also amended the last word of Finberg’s tentative reading of Turner’s inscription, ‘“toute de Join” (? Joie)’ to ‘Jour’,1 although this hardly helps in the interpretation of the phrase, which might be a non-standard attempt at the French ‘Tous les jours’ (every day) or ‘Toute la journée’ (all day). Turner was in the Low Countries in August 1825, and it is possible that some of the sketches at the beginning and end of this book relate to that visit; see the Introduction.
The inscription is in any case fairly tentative, with some characters overwritten, and to further confuse matters, it is not clear whether the last digit of the date preceding Turner’s phrase, beginning ‘June 25 182’ is ‘3’ or ‘5’; the same applies when the date is repeated between drawings elsewhere on this page. Finberg dated the sketchbook overall to about 1825, yet transcribed the year in the first inscription as ‘1823’ without further comment.2
With the page turned vertically, there are four main views by the River Thames around Isleworth on the present page, divided by horizontal pencil lines. At the top All Saints Church is seen on the west bank, with the Pavilion, a classical rotunda sometimes called the Alcove, to its north-east at the southern corner of Syon Park (see the entry for Tate D08163; Vaughan Bequest CXVIII I); in the second view, the Pavilion is on the left, with Syon House, north-east in turn, at the centre. Syon House appears on the right in the third view, while the last is similar to the second, with the Pavilion on the left. See also folios 69 verso–70 recto (D18676–D18677), and perhaps folios 72 recto and 75 verso (D18680, D18684).
Turner had rented Sion Ferry House, between the church and the Pavilion, in 1805 (see David Blayney Brown’s ‘Thames sketchbooks c.1804–14’ section in the present catalogue), and he was living at nearby Twickenham in the early 1820s; again, see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

Undated MS notes by Finberg (died 1939) C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copies of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.647.
Finberg 1909, II, p.647.

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