Joseph Mallord William Turner

Vignette Study; Sunset over a City


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite and watercolour on paper
Support: 227 × 176 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 84

Catalogue entry

Turner painted a number of small landscape studies which appear to be views of Continental locations. Although the rounded and borderless format suggests that they were designed as vignettes, they have not yet been securely identified with any of Turner’s illustration projects. There are a number of such watercolours in the Turner Bequest (see Tate D27540; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 23). In light of watermarks found on two of this group, this study has been dated circa 1832–9.
This striking and economical study shows a sun setting over a hilltop city. The warmth of the yellow sky complements the rich plum-coloured city and bridge below, which Turner has delineated in pencil. Jan Piggott has linked the palette, subject matter and style to other sets of Continental views (see for example Tate D27540 and D27542; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 23 and 25).1
Piggott 1993, p.96.
Inscribed by an unknown hand in pencil ‘CCLXXX 84’ bottom right

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

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