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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Huntsmen, Horses and Hounds at Raby Castle 1817

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 28 Recto:
Huntsmen, Horses and Hounds at Raby Castle 1817
Turner Bequest CLVI 12a
Pencil on white wove paper, 328 x 232 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram above fold centre left
Inscribed in pencil ‘12’ towards bottom left at torn corner of original sheet, descending vertically
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The group of figures,1 horses and dogs towards the top left was followed fairly closely in the left foreground of Turner’s watercolour of Raby Castle (currently untraced),2 engraved in 1820 for Surtees’s History of Durham (see the introduction to the tour). There are other studies for the composition on folios 24 recto, 25 recto and 31 verso (D12282, D12284, D12293; CLVI 13a, 14a, 19a).
The dog towards the top right was included, almost unchanged, towards the bottom left of the watercolour. There are also disembodied details of heads, legs (both animal and human) and tails. In the lower half are a further full-length study of the horseman, a larger study of his face, partly obscured by the brim of his tall hat, and details of his whip and the folds of his long riding coat.
Prominent patches of blue, pink and brown watercolour at the edges of the sheet suggest that Turner had it to hand while working on the finished design. There is a much-folded sheet in a private collection with an isolated study of the same horse and rider picked out in delicate colour washes, which Turner transcribed directly into the finished composition;3 the sheet is worn and crumpled but retains its straight edges, and at some 260 x 200 mm does not equate to the pages in the present sketchbook, but is clearly connected in terms of its subject.
Andrew Loukes has suggested that given Turner’s ‘fixation’ or ‘preoccupation’ with the mounted figure, that it may represent the 3rd Earl of Darlington,4 Turner’s host at Raby in 1817, when the artist’s major activity was preparing for the commissioned painting Raby Castle, the Seat of the Earl of Darlington (Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore),5 which was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1818. There are pencil studies of Lord Darlington in the National Portrait Gallery, London, by the sculptor Sir Francis Chantrey; made in about 1820, they show him full-face and in profile, and the nose and strong jaw-line are not inconsistent with those of the face in Turner’s sketches.
The oil painting, which includes a pack of hounds dashing across the slopes below the castle and distant galloping horsemen, once featured much more prominent mounted figures in the foreground and a fox held above the hounds coming in for the kill. These were painted out, presumably at the request of his patron, either unprompted or as a result of press criticism of the ‘detestable fox hunting picture’, but their presence has been detected through X-rays.6 Loukes has proposed that Turner might have used the figure, for which he made such careful studies, in the oil as well as in the watercolour.7 Hunting was one of Lord Darlington’s major interests, and he is shown participating in an earlier series of four paintings by John Nost Sartorius (Tate T02369–T02371; see the introduction to the present tour for further biographical information).
As now bound and foliated, sketches of the castle and its surroundings fill most of the second half of the sketchbook, from folio 17 recto (D12298; CLVI 22a) to folio 32 recto (D12309; CLVI 28).
See Rudd 2006, p.47.
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.364 no.558.
Loukes 2004, p.[10], reproduced.
Ibid., p.[10].
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.101–2 no.136, pl.142 (colour).
Ibid., p.102.
Loukes 2004, p.[10].
Technical notes:
The sheet appears to have been detached from the sketchbook and used when folded in half, as the drawings at either end are upside down in relation to each other. A large irregular section missing from the bottom left corner has been made good with off-white, laid paper. Possibly this sheet and the one in a private collection described above were kept together at some point.

Matthew Imms
February 2010

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Huntsmen, Horses and Hounds at Raby Castle 1817 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 2010, 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-huntsmen-horses-and-hounds-at-raby-castle-r1139504, accessed 22 January 2021.