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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Tower on a Hill, Perhaps from a River c.1828-38

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
A Tower on a Hill, Perhaps from a River c.1828–38
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 70
Watercolour on white wove paper, 321 x 488 mm
Watermark ‘C Ansell | 1828’
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXIII – 70’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The square tower with turrets or pinnacles in silhouette on the high skyline is probably that of a specific church, perhaps with buildings beside it, all expressed in a single register of pale brown wash. The foreground is formed of a darker, grey wash, apparently indicating a slope down from the left, with a vertical feature counterbalancing the distant tower. The grey peters out unevenly, leaving bare paper below suggesting water in the foreground reflecting the clear sky, perhaps with boats towards the right, their sails indicated by vertical strokes made with a wet brush which have interrupted and partly lifted the grey band of wash.
Eric Shanes has suggested this may be a colour study relating to the series of Turner’s watercolours engraved as Picturesque View in England and Wales (published 1827–38),1 hence the broad range date given here to the present sheet, taking the watermark into account. See also the introductions to the present subsection of unidentified subjects and the overall England and Wales ‘colour beginnings’ grouping to which it has been assigned.
Shanes 1997, p.96.
Blank (laid down and not inspected).

Matthew Imms
March 2013

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘A Tower on a Hill, Perhaps from a River c.1828–38 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, December 2013, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-tower-on-a-hill-perhaps-from-a-river-r1144357, accessed 25 May 2024.