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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Ruin by Water, with Cattle c.1798-9

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
A Ruin by Water, with Cattle c.1798–9
Turner Bequest LXX H
Pencil, watercolour, stopping- and scraping-out and gum on white wove paper, 405 x 546 mm
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg grouped this sheet with drawings of about 1800–2, including two works executed in collaboration with the animal painter Sawrey Gilpin (1733–1807): a scene exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1811 under the title Windsor Park, with Horses by the Late Sawrey Gilpin, Esq., R.A. (Tate D04158; Turner Bequest LXX G);1 and a landscape with mine shaft, in which a group of donkeys has been added by Gilpin (Tate D04160; Turner Bequest LXX I). In 1799 Turner had exhibited the watercolour Sunny Morning – the Cattle by S. Gilpin, R.A. at the Academy (untraced).2
Finberg thought that the subject of the present sheet might be St Agatha’s Abbey, near Richmond, Yorkshire; there are drawings of St Agatha’s in the 1797 North of England sketchbook (Tate D00930, D00931; Turner Bequest XXXIV 24, 25). Although the identification is evidently incorrect, no alternative has yet been suggested. The work is a well-advanced finished watercolour rather than a study or preparatory experiment, and is therefore likely to be topographically identifiable. The scene may be in the Welsh Marches rather than in Yorkshire.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, pp.346–7 no.414, reproduced.
Ibid., p.327 no.251.
Technical notes:
The paper is slightly discoloured.
Laid down on card; the support blank; inscribed in pencil ‘No 22D’, also in red chalk ‘13’ encircled; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram.

Andrew Wilton
March 2013

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘A Ruin by Water, with Cattle c.1798–9 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2013, 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-ruin-by-water-with-cattle-r1175011, accessed 21 January 2021.