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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Sion Ferry House, Isleworth: Sunset 1805

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Sion Ferry House, Isleworth: Sunset 1805
Turner Bequest XCV 48
Pencil and watercolour with scratching out on white wove paper, 260 x 369 mm
Stamped in black ‘XCV 48’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is a right-hand page from the sketchbook. With its surrounding garden wall and Gothic summer-house, the identification of this house as Turner’s own Sion (or Syon) Ferry House seems certain and is confirmed by contemporary topography.1 The view, looking west, shows a two-storey double-fronted house near the mouth of The Duke of Northumberland’s River with its own retaining wall. The river was now silted up, its water diverted for fountains in Syon Park. The wall on the far left must belong to the churchyard of All Saints’, Isleworth. This is an evening view, as if recording Turner’s return home at the end of the day, perhaps from a trip on the river. Hill notes its ‘intimate and personal’ feeling. A figure on the ferry causeway gestures a greeting and smoke from the chimney, blowing in a fresh breeze, suggests preparations for Turner’s supper. Turner used the summer-house as an impromptu studio and a probable upstream view, from it with the same prominent tree seen from the other side, and including the ferry, was also made in this sketchbook (Tate D05916; Turner Bequest XCV 12).
Turner’s fingerprint is visible in the paint in the wall left of centre.
Hill 1993, pp.25–6.

David Blayney Brown
February 2009

How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Sion Ferry House, Isleworth: Sunset 1805 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, February 2009, 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-sion-ferry-house-isleworth-sunset-r1129983, accessed 15 June 2021.