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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Study of Fonthill Abbey Rising above Woods 1799

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 107 Recto:
Study of Fonthill Abbey Rising above Woods 1799
Turner Bequest XLVI 107
Pencil on white wove paper, 130 x 79 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘107’ top left, upside down
Stamped in black ‘XLVI – 107’ top left, upside down
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This rough sketch is inverted relative to the sketchbook’s foliation. A large coloured version of this composition is Tate D04167 (Turner Bequest LXX P). The upright format was not adopted by Turner for any of the five finished watercolour views he made for William Beckford, though another coloured study with a similar composition is in the Fonthill sketchbook (Tate D02187; Turner Bequest XLVII 10). That indicates that the view is from the south-west, which may therefore be the orientation of this view too. All these studies were no doubt preparatory for the South-west view of a Gothic Abbey now building at Fonthill, the seat of W. Beckford Esq. (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto)1 that Turner exhibited in at the Royal Academy in 1800.

Andrew Wilton
May 2013

Andrew Wilton, J.M.W. Turner: His Life and Work, Fribourg 1979, p.338 no.336, reproduced.

How to cite

Andrew Wilton, ‘Study of Fonthill Abbey Rising above Woods 1799 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, May 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, April 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-study-of-fonthill-abbey-rising-above-woods-r1180012, accessed 17 October 2021.