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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Rocks or Hills by a River or Lake, ?with a Castle c.1820-40

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Rocks or Hills by a River or Lake, ?with a Castle c.1820–40
Turner Bequest CCLXIII 237
Watercolour on white wove paper, 147 x 240 mm
Partial watermark ‘tman | y Mills | 19’
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Inscribed in red ink ‘237’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXIII – 237’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This loose composition appears to show craggy hills at the side of a river or lake, with what may be a castle with a triangular turret or spire on the skyline at the left. Eric Shanes has suggested a German subject, tentatively linking the composition to a colour study of Burg Reschenstein above the River Ilz  in the 1840 Grenoble (?) sketchbook (Tate D33666; Turner Bequest CCCXL 1),1 although any general similarity in terrain is probably fortuitous, and the present sheet may well be considerably earlier given its 1819 watermark.
Other views in this section with distant towers or castles among hills include Tate D25267, D25321, D25335, D25351 and D25377 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 145, 199, 213, 229, 254).
See Shanes 1997, p.97.
Technical notes:
The full watermark, half-trimmed at the edge of the sheet, would evidently have been ‘J Whatman | Turkey Mills | 1819’.
Blank; inscribed in pencil ‘CCLXIII | 237’ bottom right.

Matthew Imms
December 2015

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Rocks or Hills by a River or Lake, ?with a Castle c.1820–40 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2015, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-rocks-or-hills-by-a-river-or-lake-with-a-castle-r1183223, accessed 27 May 2024.