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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Mossdale Upper Falls, Wensleydale 1816

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 38 Recto:
Mossdale Upper Falls, Wensleydale 1816
Turner Bequest CXLVIII 16
Pencil on white wove paper, 173 x 260 mm
Stamped in black ‘CXLVIII 16’ top left, inverted
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is the left and main part of a double-page spread, continued to the right in a few lines on folio 37 verso (D11550; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 17, now bound opposite), recording the upper falls at Mossdale in Wensleydale about two and three quarter miles north-west of Hawes. Turner made a number of sketches of the falls at Mossdale in this sketchbook, on folios 31 verso, 32 verso and 33 verso (D11568, D40861, D11576; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 27a, 25a, 31a), which the present writer dates to Saturday 27 July 1816.
This sketch formed the basis of a studio watercolour, Moss Dale Fall (Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge),1 painted about 1816–17 for Thomas Dunham Whitaker’s seven-volume General History of the County of York (see sketchbook introduction) and engraved by Samuel Middiman in 1822 for the completed part, History of Richmondshire. Eric Shanes has provided a concentrated analysis of the way in which Turner adapted the material of the sketch into the finished composition.2
Finberg wrongly associated this page with folio 30 recto (D11548; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 15a), but the mistake had been noticed and the book rebound accordingly prior to the present writer’s 1984 book. In the present binding, however, the sketch of Mossdale Falls is inverted in relation to the main sequence of subjects, and the Mossdale subjects are interrupted by sketches of Kilnsey in Wharfedale made some days earlier in the itinerary. A fairly comprehensive reordering of this part of the book appears to be required. For further comment see notes to folio 33 verso (D11576; Turner Bequest CXLVIII 31a).
Wilton 1979, pp.365–6 no.572.
Shanes 1990, p.259.

David Hill
May 2009

How to cite

David Hill, ‘Mossdale Upper Falls, Wensleydale 1816 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2009, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2013, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-mossdale-upper-falls-wensleydale-r1143728, accessed 15 July 2020.