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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Llanthony Abbey 1794

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Llanthony Abbey 1794
Turner Bequest XXVII R
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 326 x 422 mm laid down on buff-grey card with washline border, 340 x 445 mm
Inscribed by Turner in ink ‘1794 W Turner’ (date and name partly scratched out) bottom left
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Stamped in black ‘XXVII R’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The design is based on Tate D00135 (Turner Bequest XII F). Finberg dated the drawing to 1795, having misread the inscribed date thus. Both date and signature have been scratched with a razor, the name almost obliterated. This is a very grand and highly finished watercolour, with its effects of cloud, rain and rushing water one of the first of Turner’s works to aspire to the landscape sublime, and showing the influence of John Robert Cozens (1752–1797) and Thomas Hearne (1744–1817).
Another version of the subject is in a private collection.1 Various other versions are known; see for instance the drawing formerly in the Alton collection, at auction at Holloway’s, Banbury, 24 March 2009 (266, reproduced in colour). For Turner’s work with pupils see the relevant section of the present catalogue, and for a student’s copy see Tate D00678 (Turner Bequest XXVII Q). Was the student responsible for scratching out Turner’s name? A finished watercolour of about 1835 for the Picturesque Views in England and Wales, loosely based on this composition, is in the Pantzer Collection, Indianapolis Museum of Art.2
Wilton 1979, p.308 no.66, reproduced.
Ibid., p.401 no.863, pl.198.
Technical notes:
The washline border has been partly trimmed away at the top and bottom and on the right.
The sheet laid down on buff-grey card; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram above ‘XXVII R’ bottom left; inscribed in pencil ‘124’ top left; inscribed in a modern hand ‘7’ (circled) centre; and inscribed in pencil ‘XXVII.R’ towards bottom right.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Llanthony Abbey 1794 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, April 2012, 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-llanthony-abbey-r1141173, accessed 23 September 2021.