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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The River Thames at Mortlake, Looking North-East towards Chiswick and Barnes; the Summer-house at 'The Limes' c.1825

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 13 Recto:
The River Thames at Mortlake, Looking North-East towards Chiswick and Barnes; the Summer-house at ‘The Limes’ c.1825
D18728
Turner Bequest CCXIII 13
Pencil on white wove paper, 113 x 187 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Y’, ‘W’, ‘B’, ‘V Red’, ‘B’, ‘W’, ‘Y’ and ‘WR’ centre left, ‘wall’ ‘[?white]’ and ‘yellow’ right of centre, ‘Flag at W Hart | m[...] [?marble Paint] Egs [sic] mould’ towards top right, and ‘Iron’ centre right
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘13’ bottom right (now faint)
Stamped in black ‘CCXIII – 13’ bottom right
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
As Finberg recognised,1 this is one half of a double-page view down the River Thames, looking north-east from the bank in the vicinity of ‘The Limes’, Mortlake. Chiswick is seen on the north bank on folio 12 verso opposite (D18727), with Barnes on the present page. This stretch of the waterfront has a similar low-rise character today, although it is difficult to match individual buildings here to survivors among later additions. Turner notes the ‘W[hite] Hart pub, which was rebuilt in the late nineteenth century.
The part of the panorama on this page was carefully transcribed in the painting of ‘The Limes’, The Seat of William Moffatt Esq., at Mortlake. Early (Summer’s) Morning, exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1826 (Frick Collection, New York).2 There is a similar study on folio 44 verso (D18774). The main source for the overall composition is folio 11 recto (D18725); for more on the house, the painting and related studies, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.
At the top right is an annotated detail of the elaborate Ionic open-fronted summer-house which stood flanked by criss-crossed railings at the end of the lawn west of the house, as seen in the companion painting Mortlake Terrace, the Seat of William Moffatt, Esq. Summer’s Evening, shown at the Academy in 1827 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC).3 There is a similar detail on a separate sheet watermarked 1826 (Tate D34018; Turner Bequest CCCXLI 299).

Matthew Imms
December 2014

1
See Finberg 1909, II, p.648; see also Frick Collection, I, 1968, pp.131, 132 note 1, and Butlin, Wilton and Gage 1974, pp.102, 103.
2
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.144–5 no.235, pl.236 (colour).
3
Ibid., pp.147–8 no.239, pl.237 (colour).

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The River Thames at Mortlake, Looking North-East towards Chiswick and Barnes; the Summer-house at ‘The Limes’ 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-the-river-thames-at-mortlake-looking-north-east-towards-r1172850, accessed 21 October 2021.