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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Pastoral c.1807-19

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
A Pastoral circa 1807–19
Turner Bequest CXVIII d
Pencil and watercolour on off-white wove paper, 182 x 262 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
(see main catalogue entry)
Although it was included in early lists of Liber Studiorum subjects in the National Gallery and associated with the fifty original drawings in the Turner Bequest for engraved compositions, the present design was not engraved. It has usually been known as Pastoral, as per one of Turner’s categories for the published prints in the series, though it has more in common with the ‘EP’ subjects (probably ‘Elevated Pastoral’), derived in varying degrees from Claude Lorrain’s Liber Veritatis (see general Liber introduction).
Including it as no.100 in the first edition of his Liber catalogue, Rawlinson saw it as ‘a Claude-like subject, much resembling Apuleia in search of Apuleius’.1 However, the latter composition,2 engraved for the Liber but unpublished and usually called Apullia in Search of Appullus, is entirely different in its general arrangement. It was derived directly from Turner’s 1814 painting (Tate N00495),3 and, at one remove, from Lord Egremont’s Claude, Jacob with Laban and his Daughters (Petworth House, West Sussex).4 There are individual ‘Claudian’ elements in common: a river, a bridge, a prominent hill isolated in the distance, trees, classical buildings and foreground figures. Comparisons of this kind could equally well be made with the published ‘EP’ plates such as Woman and Tambourine or The Bridge in the Middle Distance (for drawings see Tate D08103, D08117; Turner Bequest CXVI B, P). Another Claude painting with a hill on the horizon, and known directly to Turner, is the Landscape with the Marriage of Isaac and Rebecca (National Gallery, London).5
Rawlinson’s revised 1906 edition of his Liber catalogue concludes with no.99, as he had decided to limit himself to the plates and designs ‘concerning which there are virtually no doubts’;6 he dropped the present work, albeit still mentioning it after the last entry.7 However, in the 1911 Miniature Edition of Liber reproductions it was again included, as no.‘100?’ – seemingly by or at the suggestion of Rawlinson, who gave ‘generous help and advice all through.’8
In the absence of specific evidence, the span of the Liber Studiorum’s active publication, 1807–19, is suggested here as a date range (as it is for various other unpublished designs).
In 1896, Frank Short etched and mezzotinted this composition,9 as one of his interpretations of the unengraved Liber designs (Tate T05074;10 see general Liber introduction).
Rawlinson 1878, p.178.
Ibid., pp.144–5 no.72; 1906, pp.169–70 no.72; Alexander J. Finberg, The History of Turner’s Liber Studiorum with a New Catalogue Raisonné, London 1924, pp.287–90 no.72.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.91–2 no.128, pl.134.
Ibid., p.92, pl.567.
Ian Warrell, in Warrell, Blandine Chavanne and Michael Kitson, Turner et le Lorrain, exhibition catalogue, Musée des beaux-arts, Nancy 2002, p.189.
Rawlinson 1906, p.168.
Ibid., p.204.
Miniature Edition, 1911, p.[3]
Hardie 1938, p.77 no.47, reproduced p.[127] pl.XXIV B.
Tate Gallery: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions 1986 – 88, London 1996, p.77.
Technical notes:
Faint pencil sketching defines the figures and cattle. Washes were applied to wet paper for the distance; washes were followed by brushwork, with no scratching- or washing-out, only washes of different depths. The overall very warm brown colour results from the use of an Indian red pigment.1 There is some scratching- or rubbing-out on the left-hand foreground figure.
Joyce Townsend, circa 1995, Tate conservation files.
Blank, save for inscriptions.
Inscribed in pencil ‘100 | d’ top centre, ‘CXVIII. D’ bottom left, and ‘D08184’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘[crown] | N•G | CXVIII – d’ bottom left
There are nicks and abrasions to the sheet, probably caused by previously being stuck down.

Matthew Imms
May 2006

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘A Pastoral c.1807–19 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2006, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-pastoral-r1131795, accessed 14 June 2024.