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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Trees in a Strong Breeze with Blustery Clouds c.1823-6

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Trees in a Strong Breeze with Blustery Clouds c.1823–6
Turner Bequest CCCLXV 27b
Watercolour on white wove paper, 243 x 302 mm
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCCLXV – 27b’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Although placed without further comment after about 1830 by Finberg,1 this work is dated here in line with the period of the ‘Little Liber’ series, by comparison with the light tones and dynamic, loose handling of one of the canonical watercolour designs, Ship in a Storm (Tate D25432; Turner Bequest CCLXIII 309a). Compare also Tate D25339 and D35926 (Turner Bequest CCLXIII 217, CCCLXIV 83) in the present subsection. The slight lifting of the grey wash at the left here in a zig-zag form may indicate that Turner was thinking of introducing lightning to emphasise the stormy, unsettled mood.
See also the breezy seascape Tate D36317 (Turner Bequest CCCLXV 27a) in a similar mode, still attached above the present work as discussed in the technical notes here.
Finberg 1909, II, p.1213.
Technical notes:
A small loss, extending about 7 mm each way at the bottom left corner, has been made good with similar paper.
Although stamped, measured and imaged as a separate work, this is the lower half of a once-folded vertical sheet shared with Tate D36317 (Turner Bequest CCCLXV 27a), another horizontal landscape. Their overall size is approximately 483 x 304 mm. The fold is evident as a darkened horizontal line between them. The division is fairly neat except where the wash at the top right of this composition extends slightly onto the bottom right of the other, suggesting that the sheet was worked on unfolded at least for part of the time.
As Ian Warrell has noted:
Many of the sheets of paper in the Turner Bequest were trimmed or cut down after they became national property in order that they could be mounted and shown to the public. This policy sometimes meant that groups of studies which Turner had made on one sheet, as part of the same creative process, were separated. Happily, this piece of paper still gives some idea of how Turner worked on several complementary subjects at the same time.1
Warrell 2007, p.110.

Matthew Imms
September 2016

How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Trees in a Strong Breeze with Blustery Clouds c.1823–6 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, September 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2016, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-trees-in-a-strong-breeze-with-blustery-clouds-r1183696, accessed 24 May 2024.