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 373
Watercolour on paper, 485 x 607 mm
Watermark ‘J Whatman | Turkey Mills | 1819’
Inscribed in red ink ‘cclxiii.373’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXIII – 373’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Eric Shanes has proposed this radiant ‘colour beginning’ as a study for Turner’s watercolour of The Tower of London of about 1825 (private collection),1 engraved in 1831 for The Literary Souvenir (Tate impression: T06137);2 see under Tate D17819
(Turner Bequest CCIV 34) in the River sketchbook of about 1823–4 for details of the design. However, there is no indication of the White Tower, the focus of that composition, high above the riverside ranges of turrets and roofs, nor of the busy array of shipping on the Thames in the foreground, although such absences do not necessarily preclude a connection, as many of the less developed compositions in the ‘England and Wales Colour Studies c.1825–39’ section of this catalogue demonstrate.
The darkest ochre strokes to the left of centre and the associated reflection suggest a prominent feature, which would equate to the cylindrical forms of the Byward Tower in the finished watercolour. However, so loose is the basic arrangement of sunlit architecture beyond water in the present study that it might just as well relate to the watercolour Hampton Court Palace of about 1827 (private collection),3 engraved in 1829 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales (Tate impression: T04550); see under Tate D20736 (Turner Bequest CCXXVII 2a) in the Isle of Wight sketchbook, in use in 1827.
If Hampton Court is the subject, the same darker forms would indicate the castellated red-brick banqueting house in the gardens overlooking the Thames, with the paler area to the right representing the regular Baroque front of the palace, and vertical strokes standing for reeds in the shallows.
Compare the equally slight Tate D25269 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 147) in the present section.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.358 no.515.
See Shanes 1997, p.99.
Wilton 1979, p.395 no.812.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII – 373’ top right, ascending vertically.

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-r1184463, accessed 20 April 2024.