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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Interior Scene, with a Sketch of a Man Fishing on Verso ?1827-9

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Interior Scene, with a Sketch of a Man Fishing on Verso ?1827–9
Turner Bequest CCLX 6
Chalk, pen and ink and watercolour on paper, 139 x 192 mm
Stamped in black ‘CCLX 6’ bottom right
Blind stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram lower centre
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This sheet is one of a series of sketches associated with a tour of the Seine with a proposed dating of 1827–9. The studies are characterised by the use of pen and ink on blue paper; for more information see the Introduction to this section.
This interior scene was given the title ‘In France’ by the Turner Bequest’s first cataloguer, A.J. Finberg, in 1909. In style and technique it is very comparable to the other studies catalogued in this section, and it is certainly possible that the interior relates to one of the buildings Turner stayed in or visited while traversing northern France. It is the only interior scene included within this section, aside from three studies of church interiors in Louviers and Evreux (Tate D24851–D24852, D24972; Turner Bequest CCLX 15–16, 136).
The subject matter of both the recto and verso of the sheet may, however, be more suggestive of a British subject of a similar date; specific alternative categorisation is, however, yet to be ascertained. A number of possible associations are suggested by the grand fireplace, seen within what is, conversely, an informal interior scene. Turner used yellow chalk to denote the fire itself, bringing a sense of warmth to a scene presumably very appealing to a weary traveller; the additional comforts of refreshments, chairs and pets are also present, as well as hunting equipment. A sketch of a man fishing on the verso of the sheet is suggestive of locations in which Turner is known to have spent time fishing. Some possibilities are laid out below.
Firstly, the study is somewhat reminiscent of some of Turner’s 1827 studies on blue paper documenting life at Petworth House in West Sussex (see, for example, Tate D22696; Turner Bequest CCXLIV 34), where Turner certainly spent time fishing. These are for the most part significantly more vibrant in palette, though, and this particular fireplace does not appear to match perfectly with any in the main part of the house.
The technique seen on the sheet is probably more reminiscent of the ink drawings on blue paper Turner made during a visit to East Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight. One interior scene in particular has a similar feel (Tate D20851; Turner Bequest CCXXVII a 48). However, the particular interior and the informal setting suggested by the grouping of figures and dogs and the hunting equipment is again difficult to place.
A final suggestion is Farnley Hall or a related Walter Fawkes residence, although this may be less given that it would either make the sheet earlier than comparable blue paper studies, or mean the study was made later than a corresponding visit to see Fawkes, who died in 1825. Turner certainly fished at Farnley and also visited Caley Hall, however; the interior on the sheet’s recto could perhaps be a hunting lodge. While the fireplace appears to be grand and somewhat reminiscent of the one shown in Turner’s c.1818 watercolour of Farnley’s Georgian library (private collection1) overall the scene is more suggestive of a less grand, more intimate interior. A quick sketch Turner made in the library in the Farnley Sketchbook, though, may possibly have relevance for the present, albeit somewhat later, study (Tate D12021; Turner Bequest CLIII 15 a).
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.369, no. 595.
As previously noted, on the verso of this sheet there is a pen and ink drawing of a man fishing, which may, taken alongside stylistic connections with related sketches, suggest the drawings were made during one of Turner’s stays at the country houses he is known to have fished at, such as Farnley Hall and Petworth. Inscriptions: inscribed in pencil ‘41a’ upper right; stamped in black with the Turner Bequest monogram and ‘CCLX–6’ lower right.

Elizabeth Jacklin
October 2018

How to cite

Elizabeth Jacklin, ‘Interior Scene, with a Sketch of a Man Fishing on Verso ?1827–9 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 2018, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2019, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-interior-scene-with-a-sketch-of-a-man-fishing-on-verso-r1195862, accessed 27 May 2024.