This is a panoramic view from Caley Park at the east end of Otley Chevin, looking west past Caley Crags up Wharfedale to the Cow and Calf Rocks above Ilkley in the centre distance (just visible to the right of the foreground rocks) and the peak of Beamsley Beacon in the distance, right. The town of Otley occupies the valley floor below to the right, with the tower of the church prominently visible. Turner drew another view of almost exactly the same material (Tate D12108; Turner Bequest CLIV J) in which Otley is more clearly represented. The present sketch formed the basis of a studio watercolour, Valley of the Wharfe from Caley Park (private collection),1 painted for Walter Fawkes of Farnley Hall. Farnley Hall stands opposite Caley Crags, out of the present field of view to the right.
The paper has an unevenly cut left edge, but the remaining edges are even, indicating that the folio might have been detached from a sketchbook. One sketchbook of almost exactly the same size (228 x 375 mm) is the Petworth sketchbook (Tate D07512–D07536; D40276; Turner Bequest CIX). This contains a number of sketches in the Cockermouth area that date from a tour of 1809, when Turner also visited Farnley Hall.2 The finished watercolour is generally dated to c.1816–18, but in terms of technique and style could easily belong a few years earlier, and bears a signature of ‘J M W Turner RA pp’ most commonly used in the years immediately following the artist’s election as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy in 1807.