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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Joseph Mallord William Turner Vignette Study; ?Upper Rhine view c.1832-9

Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Vignette Study; ?Upper Rhine view circa 1832–9
Turner Bequest CCLXXX 140
Pencil and watercolour, approximately 130 x 120 mm on off-white Bristol board, 227 x 176 mm
Stamped in black ‘CCLXXX 140’ 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 sheets within the group, this study has been dated circa 1832–9.
This unfinished watercolour sketch depicts a castle perched above a gorge or mountainous valley, tentatively described by Jan Piggott as a view within the Upper Rhine.1 He has previously linked the design with Turner’s studies for The Poetical Works of Thomas Campbell, published by Edward Moxon in 1837, possibly related to The Brave Roland, (National Gallery of Scotland).2 However, the Bristol board support is not typical of this group, and instead suggests an affinity with the other vignette studies of unidentified Continental views.
Piggott 1993, p.96.
Andrew Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, Fribourg 1979, no.1285; reproduced in colour in Mungo Campbell, Turner in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 1993, p.62.
Technical notes:
The support for this watercolour is Bristol board, a type of board sold by most artists’ colourmen.1 The sheet is stamped with a blind embossed stamp ‘BRISTOL | [image of crown] | BOARD’ top left.
Peter Bower, Turner’s Later Papers: A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawing Papers 1820–1851, exhibition catalogue, Tate Gallery, London 1999, pp.114–15.
Inscribed by an unidentified hand in pencil ‘367 110 140’ bottom left

Nicola Moorby
October 2009

How to cite

Nicola Moorby, ‘Vignette Study; ?Upper Rhine view c.1832–9 by Joseph Mallord William Turner’, catalogue entry, October 2009, 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-upper-rhine-view-r1133867, accessed 21 May 2024.