Joseph Mallord William Turner

Windsor Castle across the River Thames from the Brocas Meadows

c.1827

In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Artist
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Medium
Graphite on paper
Dimensions
Support: 116 x 222 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D20560
Turner Bequest CCXXV 2 a

Catalogue entry

Turner’s viewpoint is the Brocas meadows on the north side of the River Thames, looking south-east across to Windsor Castle, with the tower and prominent pinnacles of St John the Baptist’s Church to the right, built only a few years before in 1820–2 to replace a sprawling medieval church on the same site.1 The sketch is one of a sequence with folio 1 recto, the recto of this leaf and folio 3 recto (D20558–D20559, D20561). For later changes to the landscape, see under D20558, and for similar drawings in the Windsor and Cowes, Isle of Wight sketchbook (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXXVI), see the Introduction to the present book.
Eric Shanes has noted this drawing among those listed above in relation to the watercolour Windsor Castle of about 1828–9 (British Museum, London),2 engraved in 1831 for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T05086, T06093); all show similar but not identical permutations of the castle, river and trees in the subsequent design. Kim Sloan mentions this sketch and the recto (D20559) in particular.3 The alignment of the trees with the castle here matches that in the watercolour, albeit in the latter the silhouette of the building is elevated well above the treetops.
Contemporary with Turner’s sketch, an 1827 watercolour by William Daniell (1769–1837), Windsor Castle from near Brocas Meadows (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven), aquatinted for the series Select Views of Windsor Castle and the Adjacent Scenery, shows the same view from a slightly different angle, including the bridges and the stand of trees with one isolated to its left, as shown by Turner.

Matthew Imms
August 2014

1
See ‘Windsor Parish Church’, The Royal Windsor Website, accessed 5 March 2014, http://www.thamesweb.co.uk/parishchurch/parishchrch.html.
2
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.397 no.829, reproduced, as c.1829; Shanes 1979, p.34 no.40, as c.1827–9; Sloan 1998, p.98 no.30, reproduced in colour p.[99], as c.1828–9.
3
See Sloan 1998, p.98.

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