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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner A Wooded River Scene at Sunset c.1820-40

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
A Wooded River Scene at Sunset c.1820–40
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 181
Watercolour on white wove paper, 342 x 492 mm
Inscribed in red ink ‘181’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXIII – 181’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
There may be indications of silhouetted towers to the left of centre and towards the right here, but the overriding feature is the sunset effect, doubled and intensified by the water in the foreground and the contrast with the dark foliage and reflections; Nicola Moorby has observed how ‘a blaze of strong, intense orange focuses the viewer on the centre of the composition’.1
Eric Shanes has tentatively suggested a connection to Turner’s work on a series of panoramic landscape paintings for Lord Egremont’s Carved Room at Petworth House in Sussex in the late 1820s,2 in particular Chichester Canal of about 1829 (Tate T03885, displayed at Petworth)3 and the full-size study Chichester Canal of about 1828 (Tate N00560),4 both roughly symmetrical compositions with trees flanking the broad canal.
Any generic similarity to the paintings appears to be fortuitous; see also Tate D25230 and D25233 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 108, 111). Other compositions with trees beside water in the present section are Tate D25182, D25191, D25300, D25363, D25495, and D25498 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 60, 69, 178, 241, 372, 375a)
Moorby 2007, pp.24, 26.
See Shanes 1997, p.94.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.168 no.290, pl.292 (colour).
Ibid., p.166 no.285, pl.287 (colour).
Technical notes:
The left-hand side is notably irregular, tapering inwards by some 20 mm towards the bottom.
Blank; laid down.

Matthew Imms
December 2015

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘A Wooded River Scene at Sunset c.1820–40 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2015, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-a-wooded-river-scene-at-sunset-r1183219, accessed 18 April 2024.