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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Bolton Abbey and the River Wharfe, from the South 1816

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 11 Recto:
Bolton Abbey and the River Wharfe, from the South 1816
Turner Bequest CXXXIV 82
Pencil on white wove paper with gilt edges, 179 x 254 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘[?Black]’ top right, ‘[?Stone]’ bottom centre, and ‘Beautiful R[...]’ bottom right
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CXXXIV – 81 – 82’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This composition continues from folio 10 verso opposite (D09885; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 81), where the east end of the abbey is shown from the south. For other views of the abbey see under folio 7 recto (D09874; Turner Bequest CXXXIV 73). Finberg noted that the present double-page sketch is the basis for the watercolour Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire of about 1825 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight),1 engraved in 1827 for the series Picturesque Views in England and Wales.2 He made a lengthy analysis of the differences between the present sketch and the watercolour, where ‘almost every detail has been altered’ to create ‘a whole complex of visible harmony.’3
Here the bank leads down to the river Wharfe, indicated by Turner’s inscription ‘Beautiful R[...]’, the short second word of which Finberg reads as ‘Refln’ (i.e. ‘Reflection’), but notes Ruskin’s reading ‘riple’ [sic].4
Wilton 1979, p.391 no.788, reproduced.
Finberg 1909, I, p.383; see also Finberg 1910, p.109; Shanes 1979, p.156; Wilton 1979, p.391; and Milner 1990, p.23.
Finberg 1910, pp.110–11.
Finberg 1909, I, p.383; for Ruskin’s reading ‘I think, “beautiful ripple” (spelt “riple”)’ see Catalogue of the Sketches and Drawings by J.M.W. Turner, R.A. Exhibited in Marlborough House in the Year 1857–8 in Cook and Wedderburn 1904, p.254; see also Wroot 1924, p.237, and Bailey 1997, p.147.
Technical notes:
Except at the edges, the sheet has darkened through prolonged display.
Blank, save for inscriptions: by John Ruskin in red ink ’35’ bottom left; and in pencil ‘CXXXIV.81–82’ bottom left, descending vertically

Matthew Imms
July 2014

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Bolton Abbey and the River Wharfe, from the South 1816 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, July 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-bolton-abbey-and-the-river-wharfe-from-the-south-r1147362, accessed 26 July 2021.