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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Henley-on-Thames, with St Mary's Church c.1807-14

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 6 Verso:
Henley-on-Thames, with St Mary’s Church c.1807–14
Turner Bequest CXXII 6a
Pencil on white wove paper, 69 x 112 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Henley’ towards bottom left
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Drawn inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation, the tower of St Mary the Virgin’s Church at Henley-on-Thames is seen to the left, with hills beyond. The foreground is indicated only slightly, and it is unclear whether the features beyond the trees represent the waterfront along the west bank of the River Thames parallel to the picture plane or at an angle receding to the right, making the line of sight towards the west or the north-west respectively. For comparison, two 1690s paintings by Jan Siberechts (1627–c.1700) show these corresponding aspects: Landscape with Rainbow, Henley-on-Thames (Tate T00899) and Henley from the Wargrave Road (River & Rowing Museum, Henley).
Turner also made drawings around Henley in the Thames, from Reading to Walton sketchbook (Tate D05911, D05912, D05930; Turner Bequest XCV 7, 8, 26). The first of these shows the church and town from the road on Remenham Hill, looking west from what seems to be a similar viewpoint, but the route is now lined with trees obscuring the prospect.
There are various identified and likely subjects along the Thames in the present sketchbook, as discussed in the Introduction. The drawing on folio 20 verso (D08314) may be another Henley view.

Matthew Imms
September 2013

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Henley-on-Thames, with St Mary’s Church c.1807–14 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2013, 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-henley-on-thames-with-st-marys-church-r1147768, accessed 23 June 2024.