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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Scenes on the River Thames around Isleworth, with ?Syon House c.1825

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 75 Verso:
Scenes on the River Thames around Isleworth, with ?Syon House c.1825
Turner Bequest CCXII 75a
Part watermark ‘Al | 18’
Watercolour on white wove paper, 188 x 114 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘[?shroud m... | no ... than for Shadow sail | m... 1 Sprit Diag]’ centre left and ‘[Axiom and m... | Law is not so p... as | a ?vertical line | Owing 1 %’ centre right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
With the page turned vertically, there are four related sketches of scenes with houses on wooded banks. The precise views are unidentified, but presumably on the River Thames in the neighbourhood of Isleworth and Richmond, as in so many cases in this sketchbook; see the Introduction. The characteristic silhouettes of Thames barges are evident (see also folio 32 recto; D18636). Both Finberg and Turner scholar C.F. Bell suggested in undated notes that the subject is ‘Sion & Twickenham’,1 and the large building in the third view may be Syon House to the west across the Thames, north-east of Isleworth; see under folio 47 recto (D18652) for other views and compare the river views on folio 49 verso (D18655).
Apparently in relation to the Thames barge in the second sketch and the reflection of its sails, Turner has written some semi-legible observations, as tentatively transcribed above. It is unclear whether the last character in the second passage is a percentage sign or some sort of slight diagram. For another ‘Axiom’ on reflections, written at Richmond, see folio 90 verso (D18703).

Matthew Imms
December 2014

Undated MS notes by Finberg (died 1939) C.F. Bell (died 1966) in copies of Finberg 1909, Tate Britain Prints and Drawings Room, vol.II, p.647.

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Scenes on the River Thames around Isleworth, with ?Syon House c.1825 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, December 2014, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2015, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-scenes-on-the-river-thames-around-isleworth-with-syon-house-r1172803, accessed 17 February 2020.