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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Trees, ?Northern France c.1826

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Trees, ?Northern France c.1826
Turner Bequest CCXX I
Watercolour on white wove paper, 146 x 274 mm
Blind stamped with the Turner Bequest monogram towards bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCXX I’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This colour sketch of the trees was first documented by John Ruskin as one of several of works depicting Dieppe and its environs. As A.J. Finberg noted in his 1909 inventory of the Turner Bequest, Ruskin grouped this work together with twenty other ‘slight coloured sketches, chiefly from Dieppe’. 1 A note which was once appended to this parcel of works reveals that Ruskin held them in low regard, judging that they had been executed ‘in some careless or sickly state of mind’. 2 The work itself provides no firm evidence for Ruskin’s identification. Although Ian Warrell has upheld the Dieppe connection, other Turner specialists have suggested alternative locations.3 Finberg himself proposed a connection to the 1828 Italian tour while Eric Shanes has mooted Greenwich Park as a possible subject.4
A.J. Finberg, A Complete Inventory of the Drawings of the Turner Bequest, London 1909, vol.II, p.686.
Ian Warrell, Turner on the Loire, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, pp.23–4, 159.
Eric Shanes, Turner’s Watercolour Explorations 1810–1842, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1997, p.99.
Inscribed in pencil with the notes ‘4’ (circled) in the centre of the sheet, and ‘I’ and ‘D.20215’ in the bottom right-hand corner.

John Chu
March 2016

How to cite

John Chu, ‘Trees, ?Northern France c.1826 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, March 2016, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, March 2017, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-trees-northern-france-r1185467, accessed 17 October 2021.