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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner The River Thames at Mortlake, Looking West in the Direction of Kew c.1825

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 14 Verso:
The River Thames at Mortlake, Looking West in the Direction of Kew c.1825
D18731
Turner Bequest CCXIII 14a
Pencil on white wove paper, 113 x 187 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘Red’, ‘Red’ and ‘Red’ towards top, ‘w’ and ‘Brick’ centre left, and ‘w’, ‘w’, ‘yel’ and ‘yell’ centre
 
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
The River Thames is shown to the west up-river of the garden of ‘The Limes’, Mortlake. The two distinctive towers on the left are among brewery buildings since largely replaced by modern industrial equivalents;1 some of the houses along Thames Bank, in the centre of Turner’s view, survive, but the broad arches of the twentieth-century Chiswick Bridge have now terminated the prospect towards the right. Below is a slight continuation of trees.
This sketch was carefully transcribed in the distance of the painting Mortlake Terrace, the Seat of William Moffatt, Esq. Summer’s Evening, shown at the Royal Academy in 1827 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC);2 the main source for that subject is the drawing on folios 15 verso–16 recto (D18733–D18734). Whether by accident or design, the brewery buildings in the painting are largely obscured by converging tree trunks.
For more on the house, the painting and related studies, see the sketchbook’s Introduction.

Matthew Imms
December 2014

1
See ‘Mortlake Brewery’, Barnes and Mortlake History Society, accessed 25 September 2014, http://www.barnes-history.org.uk/BandMmap/brewery.html.
2
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed., New Haven and London 1984, pp.147–8 no.239, pl.237 (colour).

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘The River Thames at Mortlake, Looking West in the Direction of Kew 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-west-in-the-direction-r1172853, accessed 22 October 2021.