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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner River Landscape with Distant Mountain ?1793

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
River Landscape with Distant Mountain ?1793
Turner Bequest XXIII N
Pencil and watercolour on white wove paper, 213 x 273 mm
Stamped in black ‘XXIII N’ bottom right
The view has been variously identified as Snowdon from Portmadoc (C.F. Bell) and Cader Idris from Barmouth (Finberg); the latter is more consistent with Turner’s known itineraries of 1792–3, but no other evidence exists that he travelled even as far north as Cader at this date. Technically, this is as sophisticated an exercise as the view of the Hot Wells, Bristol (Tate D00389; Turner Bequest XXIII O). The handling of atmospheric perspective, and of foliage against the sky, marks this as one of the subtlest of Turner’s watercolour studies to date. The partial erasure of the figures in a boat and on a jetty at the lower centre suggests that Turner was using the sheet to develop an idea for a finished watercolour.
Blank; paint smears; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram; inscribed (in a later hand) ‘17’.

Andrew Wilton
April 2012

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘River Landscape with Distant Mountain ?1793 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-river-landscape-with-distant-mountain-r1141142, accessed 21 September 2021.