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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Two Vignette Studies of Landscapes c.1839

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Two Vignette Studies of Landscapes circa 1839
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 25
Pencil and watercolour, approximately 160 x 140 mm and 155 x 180 mm on off-white board, 387 x 281 mm
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘(25’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 25’ bottom right
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Turner painted a number of small landscape studies which appear to be views of Continental locations. Although the rounded and borderless format suggests that they were designed as vignettes, they have not yet been securely identified with any of Turner’s illustration projects. There are at least eight such watercolours in the Turner Bequest (see Tate D27540; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 23). In light of watermarks found on two of these sheets, the group has been dated circa 1832–9.
This sheet contains two small studies. The lower scene shows a bridge with many bays and a number of architectural structures, including a building with two onion domes on the right-hand side of the composition. The warm yellow sky and pink clouds suggest that the scene is taken at sunset. The upper scene (inverted) which may be a view of Tivoli in Italy, shows a waterfall crossed by an arched bridge and surrounded on either side by sharply sloping hills. The sun-filled skies of the two views merge at the centre of the page. The style, palette and subject matter strongly resemble those of another study (see Tate D275540; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 23) and it seems likely that Turner produced them both at around the same time.
Technical notes:
The sheet bears a watermark ‘J. Whatman | 1839’.
Inscribed by unknown hands in pencil ‘AB 117 P | M’ top right, ascending right-hand edge and ‘CCLXXX 25’ bottom right

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

How to cite

Meredith Gamer, ‘Two Vignette Studies of Landscapes c.1839 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, August 2006, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, December 2012, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/joseph-mallord-william-turner-two-vignette-studies-of-landscapes-r1133863, accessed 26 May 2024.