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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Figures and Horses: Related to 'Men with Horses Crossing a River' 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 44 Recto:
Figures and Horses: Related to ‘Men with Horses Crossing a River’ 1805
Turner Bequest XCIII 44
Pen and ink on white wove paper, 171 x 262 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘44’ top right, running vertically
Stamped in black ‘XCIII 44’ top right, running vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg’s ‘cattle’ are horses, as observed by Hill who also recognised that this sketch is related to the contemporary, unfinished oil known as Men with Horses Crossing a River (Tate N02695) 1 along with the slighter sketch on the verso (D05843) and further sketches inside the back cover of the sketchbook (D40635). The central grouping is much as in the painting but there is an extra horse on the left and figures on the right, while a punt and the background landscape, trees and distant building are lacking. Hill believes that the pencil sketches on the verso and inside the back cover were made on the spot, implying that the slightly more developed versions in ink were worked up afterwards, then serving as composition studies for the oil. As Hill notes, the motif throughout seems to be horses being watered, rather than crossing a river; a cart appears on the verso. As he also observes, the painting is ‘loosely based on Richmond riverside scenery’ and the Star and Garter on Richmond Hill appears in the background of the sketch on folio 37 verso (D05831).2

David Blayney Brown
October 2007

Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, p.118 no.170 (pl.170).
Hill 1993, p.129.

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Figures and Horses: Related to ‘Men with Horses Crossing a River’ 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 2007, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-figures-and-horses-related-to-men-with-horses-crossing-a-r1130064, accessed 29 February 2020.