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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Buildings beyond Water c.1820-40

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Buildings beyond Water c.1820–40
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 147
Watercolour on white wove paper, 315 x 488 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram below centre
Inscribed in red ink ‘147’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXIII – 147’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg characterised this slight but radiant ‘colour beginning’ as a mere ‘lay in’,1 although there has been slight development at the right-hand edge of the ochre band suggesting the bank of a river or lake, with darker vertical and horizontal strokes indicating some form of structure or building.
As well as categorising it among ‘River Scenes, Unidentified’, Eric Shanes has also mentioned Blenheim Palace as a possible subject, without further comment.2 There are two ‘colour beginnings’ firmly associated with the finished watercolour Blenheim House and Park, Oxford of about 1832 (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery),3 based on 1830 drawings and engraved in 1833 for Turner’s Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impressions: T04599, T04600, T06101). Of these, Tate D25488 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 365) is clearly directly related, while Tate D25489 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 366) represents an alternative view.
The sunlit slope across the lake in D25489 is loosely comparable in effect with the setting here, but the position of Blenheim Palace on the distant skyline, as against the immediate waterside situation of the buildings here, appears to render any slight resemblance fortuitous, and a specific identification of the present study remains elusive. Compare the equally slight Tate D25496 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 373) in the present section.
Finberg 1909, II, p.825.
See Shanes 1997, pp.101 and 94 respectively.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.399 no.846, pl.194.
Technical notes:
The sheet is somewhat stained at the bottom centre.
Blank; inscribed by ?John Ruskin in pencil ‘AB 150 P | O’ bottom right; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII | 147’ bottom right; stamped in black with Turner Bequest monogram over ‘CCLXIII – 147’ bottom right. The right-hand two fifths are stained darker, this area being defined by a dark, straight edge.

Matthew Imms
August 2016

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Buildings beyond Water c.1820–40 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, February 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-buildings-beyond-water-r1184452, accessed 15 April 2024.