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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Children Digging in a Sand-Heap c.1823-4

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 4 Recto:
Children Digging in a Sand-Heap c.1823–4
Turner Bequest CCV 4
Pencil on white wove paper, 162 x 98 mm
Part watermark ‘lls | 1’
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Children digging a sandheap’ top right
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘4’ top right, ascending vertically
Stamped in black ‘CCV – 4’ top right, ascending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
With the page turned vertically, Turner has rapidly sketched three figures; two are crouching or kneeling in a somewhat nondescript setting, but the artist precluded the need for further detail by his written note of ‘Children digging a sandheap’. Compare folio 41 verso (D17906), where the artist notes ‘children fishing with clothes tucked up’.1 The scene may be beside the River Thames, either at Richmond as on adjacent pages, or near Old London Bridge, as in many subsequent studies; see the Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

For examples of Turner’s attitude to children and depictions of them, see Lindsay 1966, pp.16–20.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Children Digging in a Sand-Heap c.1823–4 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-children-digging-in-a-sand-heap-r1172551, accessed 30 May 2024.