Joseph Mallord William Turner

Windsor Castle from the River Thames opposite Clewer


In Tate Britain

Prints and Drawings Room

View by appointment
Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Graphite on paper
Support: 116 × 222 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner Bequest CCXXV 1

Catalogue entry

The view is east-south-east across the River Thames towards Windsor Castle, with the village of Clewer on the right; Turner seems to have drawn the spire of St Andrew’s Church twice, once obscured by a poplar. The view towards the castle is now disrupted by the dual-carriageway Queen Elizabeth Bridge (beyond which a railway line had already been built across the meadows, crossing the river west of the castle), just east of Clewer, itself obscured by dense tree growth along the bank.
The exact course of the meandering river in the foreground is unclear, and really only signalled by the presence of a man in a punt, but Turner’s viewpoint appears to be somewhere south-east of the later Royal Windsor Racecourse, probably on the tight bend of the north bank, since views of the castle on folios 2 recto and verso and 3 recto (D20559–D20561) indicate that he was walking eastwards along that side.
Eric Shanes has mentioned this drawing in relation to the watercolour Windsor Castle of about 1828–9 (British Museum, London),1 engraved in 1831 for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T05086, T06093), although the composition has more in common with the sketches on subsequent pages.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.397 no.829, reproduced, as c.1829; Kim Sloan, J.M.W. Turner: Watercolours from the R.W. Lloyd Bequest in the British Museum, London 1998, p.98 no.30, reproduced in colour p.[99], as c.1828–9.
Technical notes:
There is noticeable staining, apparently from the page’s proximity to the inside of the front cover opposite.

Matthew Imms
August 2014

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