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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner St Agatha's Abbey, Easby, Seen from the River Swale 1797

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 26 Recto:
St Agatha’s Abbey, Easby, Seen from the River Swale 1797
D00931
Turner Bequest XXXIV 25
Pencil on white wove paper, 210 x 270 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram bottom centre
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘25’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in black ‘XXXIV 25’ bottom left, descending vertically
Watermark ‘1794 | J Whatman
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The subject is drawn with the page turned horizontally. David Hill suggests that this drawing was made from a distance ‘in order to obtain a view which united the ruins with the river.’ The pencil drawing indicates the sharp curve of the Swale to the left immediately below the spectator, whereas a large finished watercolour based on it gives the impression that the viewer is on the opposite bank. This watercolour dates from shortly after Turner’s visit and is now in the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.1 He made a similar view of the abbey for Whitaker’s History of Richmondshire in about 1821 (British Museum, London).2 A third composition, showing the ruins from upstream, is recorded in a watercolour (British Museum)3which, Hill surmises, was worked up on a leaf from the Tweed and Lakes sketchbook.
Another drawing of Easby Abbey is on folio 25 recto (D00930; Turner Bequest XXXIV 24).
1
Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.330 no.273, reproduced.
2
Ibid., p.364 no.561, reproduced.
3
Ibid., p.330 no.274, reproduced.
Verso:
Blank; stamped in brown ink with Turner Bequest monogram

Andrew Wilton
January 2013

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘St Agatha’s Abbey, Easby, Seen from the River Swale 1797 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, January 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, November 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-st-agathas-abbey-easby-seen-from-the-river-swale-r1150087, accessed 25 November 2020.