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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Thorp Arch Mill and Weir on the River Wharfe near Wetherby c.1816-18

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Folio 4 Recto:
Thorp Arch Mill and Weir on the River Wharfe near Wetherby c.1816–18
Turner Bequest CLII 4
Pencil on white wove paper, 117 x 180 mm
Inscribed by Turner in pencil ‘T Arch’ inside right lower edge
Inscribed by an unknown hand in red ink ‘4’ bottom left, descending vertically
Stamped in brown ‘CLII 4’ bottom left, descending vertically
Turner records the view of Thorp Arch Mill and Weir looking upstream from close by on the left bank of the River Wharfe. Thorp Arch is also the subject of the following sketch in this book (D11979; Turner Bequest CLII 5). A paper mill and a corn mill stood on this site according to the Ordnance Survey map of 1849, but all the mill buildings and wheel races are now demolished or redeveloped. It is not altogether clear what attracted Turner to Thorp Arch as a subject. Thorp Arch was a popular spa in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. When he made these sketches Turner was headed for Farnley Hall, the home of his Yorkshire patron Walter Fawkes. It is possible that there were Fawkes family connections in the area at this time. Walter Fawkes’s brother Francis Hawksworth wrote to the famous bird artist Thomas Bewick from Thorp Arch in 18091 and directed that the reply should be directed to a ‘Miss Grimston’ at Thorp Arch. Francis Hawksworth and Walter Fawkes each married Grimston sisters, respectively Elizabeth and Maria.
Anne Lyles, Turner and Natural History: The Farnley Project, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1988, p.69.

David Hill
September 2008

How to cite

David Hill, ‘Thorp Arch Mill and Weir on the River Wharfe near Wetherby c.1816–18 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2008, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-thorp-arch-mill-and-weir-on-the-river-wharfe-near-wetherby-r1147005, accessed 16 October 2021.