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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Vignette Study; Sunset over a City c.1832-9

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Vignette Study; Sunset over a City circa 1832–9
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 84
Pencil and watercolour, approximately 130 x 115 mm on off-white paper, 225 x 176 mm
Inscribed in pencil with lines along left and bottom sides of sheet
Inscribed by John Ruskin in red ink ‘(84’ bottom right
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 84’ 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 a number of such watercolours in the Turner Bequest (see Tate D27540; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 23). In light of watermarks found on two of this group, this study has been dated circa 1832–9.
This striking and economical study shows a sun setting over a hilltop city. The warmth of the yellow sky complements the rich plum-coloured city and bridge below, which Turner has delineated in pencil. Jan Piggott has linked the palette, subject matter and style to other sets of Continental views (see for example Tate D27540 and D27542; Turner Bequest CCLXXX 23 and 25).1
Piggott 1993, p.96.
Inscribed by an unknown hand in pencil ‘CCLXXX 84’ bottom right

Meredith Gamer
August 2006

How to cite

Meredith Gamer, ‘Vignette Study; Sunset over a City c.1832–9 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-vignette-study-sunset-over-a-city-r1133864, accessed 26 May 2024.