J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Barge on a River c.1825

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 16 Recto:
A Barge on a River c.1825
Turner Bequest CCXII 16
Watercolour on white wove paper, 114 x 188 mm
Inscribed by Turner in watercolour ‘Tarpaulin in the Light Green’ bottom centre
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘16’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCXII – 16’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is one of a sequence of twenty-five recto pages of watercolour landscape, sea and sky compositions between folio 9 recto (D18609) and folio 34 recto (D18638), many of which evoke quiet Thames Valley scenes with water in the foreground; for a checklist and general comments, see the sketchbook’s Introduction. In this slight but atmospheric view, a barge laden with hay is seen on a river with trees beyond, indicated with extreme economy; compare the views of a barge under a bridge on folios 14 recto and 15 recto (D18616, D18617). While some of these watercolours seem to be improvisations (in particular the stormy seas of folios 12 recto and 13 recto; D18614, D18615), the immediacy of the contre-jour lighting here and the note of a colour effect written with the brush suggest at least a basis in direct observation.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘A Barge on a River c.1825 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-barge-on-a-river-r1172735, accessed 22 May 2024.