Joseph Mallord William Turner

Windermere: The North End of the Lake from Waterhead


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 274 × 370 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest XXXV 52

Catalogue entry

The subject was drawn with the page turned horizontally. Turner scholar David Hill identifies the viewpoint as being at Waterhead, near Ambleside, where carts and boats carrying slate from the nearby quarries were loaded. Some of these can be seen in the foreground. We are looking west with Ambleside itself to the right and Brathay Hall on a low hill near the water in the centre of the view. Beyond, the mass of Fairfield is dimly visible in the distance. The peaks to the left ought to be Langdale Pikes, but Hill argues that these were hidden by mist and that Turner exaggerated the scale of some nearer hills to make his background.
Walter Fawkes commissioned a view of the lake in 1821, and Turner used this drawing and ones on folios 68 recto, 69 recto and 70 recto (D01055–D 01057; Turner Bequest XXXV 53, 54, 55) to construct a lively composite view of the northern end of Windermere (Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal).1 The partially invented hills to the left reappear in that watercolour. Turner was to make further use of these drawings in the 1830s, to create another watercolour view of Windermere for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Manchester Art Gallery),2 engraved in 1837 (Tate impression: T05102); see folio 70 recto (D01057; Turner Bequest XXXV 55).
Wilton 1979, p.363 no.555, reproduced.
Ibid., p.402 no.874, reproduced.
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram; inscribed by A.J. Finberg in pencil ‘141.52’.

Andrew Wilton
August 2010

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