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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Kenilworth Sketchbook principally 1830

Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 1–90a
Sketchbook bound in boards, quarter bound in buff paper with brown leather spine and a brass clasp; leather pencil loop along full length of top edge of back cover, inset between paper cover and pastedown
92 leaves and pastedowns of white wove paper, with edges washed yellow; various sheets watermarked ‘R Barnard | 1820’; page size 120 x 203 mm
Made by Richard Barnard of Eyehorn Mill, Kent
Inscribed by Turner ‘Kenilworth’ on label (now lost, but presumably once pasted on spine)
Numbered 331 as part of the Turner Schedule in 1854 and endorsed by the Executors of the Turner Bequest inside back cover (D41046)
Blind-stamped with Turner Bequest monogram on leather part of front cover, towards top left
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
This is one of two sketchbooks used in the late summer of 1830 on Turner’s tour of the English Midlands, largely in search of fresh material for the series of watercolours showing Picturesque Views in England and Wales, published as engravings between 1827 and 1838. A.J. Finberg posited that two others, Worcester and Shrewsbury (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXXXIX) and Birmingham and Coventry (Tate; Turner Bequest CCXL), were used on this trip1 but, as explained in the overall introduction to the 1830 tour, the Worcester and Shrewsbury book comprises a different itinerary, datable to 1831.
Without giving precise reasoning, Eric Shanes noted that this sketchbook was first ‘used around 1827 for sketches of Virginia Water’2 near Windsor; his dating was presumably based on allowing a year or two before the exhibition in 1829 of two watercolours derived from drawings in it. See under folio 73 verso (D22113; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 71a) for a discussion showing that 1827 was indeed the most likely date for the Virginia Water sketches, made working inwards from the back cover as now foliated. Turner appears to have then set the sketchbook aside until 1830. As outlined in the introduction to the tour, in terms of identified subjects the route may have been as follows, with the places in brackets confined to the concurrent Birmingham and Coventry sketchbook; in each case a key sketch is noted, under which the subject and further drawings are discussed:
Oxfordshire: Oxford (folio 1 recto; D21975), Woodstock (folio 3 recto; D21979), Blenheim Palace (folio 2 verso; D21978)
Warwickshire: Coventry (folio 40 verso; D22051), Kenilworth (folio 29 recto; D22028), [Guy’s Cliffe], Warwick (folio 38 verso; D22047), [Wroxall]
West Midlands: [Solihull], Birmingham (formerly Warwickshire; folio 3 verso; D21980); Dudley (formerly Worcestershire; folio 23 recto; D22016)
Staffordshire: Lichfield (folio 50 verso; D22068), [Hopwas], Tamworth (folio 52 verso; D22072; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 51c)
Leicestershire: Ashby-de-la-Zouch (folio 21 verso; D22012), Leicester (folio 18 recto; D22006)
[Northamptonshire: Northampton and Hardingstone]
Of these subjects, Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Lichfield, Tamworth and Leicester are common to both sketchbooks. The England and Wales subjects deriving from the present book are noted below in order of the standard Rawlinson engravings and Wilton watercolours catalogues,3 with references to engravings in the Tate collection and to the most directly related sketches:
Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire, c.1830 (currently untraced); engraved 1832: Tate T04593, T05090.4 Sketch: folio 45 verso (D22060)
Warwick Castle, Warwickshire, c.1830 (Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester); engraved 1832: Tate T04594, T04595.5 Sketch: folios 38 verso–39 recto (D22047, D22048)
Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, c.1830 (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco); engraved 1832: Tate T04596, T06099.6 Sketch: folio 29 recto (D22028)
Tamworth Castle, Staffordshire, c.1830 (private collection); engraved 1832: Tate T04598.7 Sketches: folios 52 verso, 53 recto (D22072, D22073; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 51c, 52)
Blenheim, Oxfordshire, c.1832 (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery); engraved 1833: Tate T04599, T04600, T06101.8 Sketches: folios 11 verso–12 recto, 12 verso (D21993–D21995)
Christ Church College, Oxford, c.1832 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford); engraved 1834: Tate T05094, T06108.9 Sketch: folio 1 recto (D21975)
Leicester Abbey, Leicestershire, c.1832 (Art Institute of Chicago); engraved 1834: Tate T05096, T06111.10 Sketches: folios 18 recto, 20 verso (D22006, D22011)
Dudley, Worcestershire, c.1832 (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight); engraved 1835: Tate T05097, T06113, T06114.11 Sketch: folios 67 verso–68 recto (D22102, D22103; Turner Bequest CCXXXVIII 65a–66)
Finberg 1961, p.323; 1830 dating followed for all three sketchbooks by Wilton 1975, p.124, 1979, p.191 note 18, 1987, p.168 and 2006, p.238.
Shanes 1979, p.156.
W[illiam] G[eorge] Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, R.A., vol.I, London 1908, pp.xlvii–l, xciv–xcvi, 117–69 nos. 209–304; Wilton 1979, pp.391–403 nos.785–880, and ibid., pp.403–4 nos.881–895 for related designs; see also Eric Shanes, ‘England and Wales, Picturesque Views in’ in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann (eds.), The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, pp.87–9.
Wilton 1979, p.398 no.840; Rawlinson I 1908, pp.xcv, 147–8 no.264.
Wilton 1979, p.398 no.841, reproduced; Rawlinson I 1908, pp.xcv, 148 no.265.
Wilton 1979, p.398 no.842, reproduced; Rawlinson I 1908, pp.xcv, 148–9 no.266.
Wilton 1979, p.399 no.844, reproduced; Rawlinson I 1908, pp.xcv, 149–50 no.268.
Wilton 1979, p.399 no.846, pl.194; Rawlinson I 1908, pp.xcv, 151 no.270.
Wilton 1979, p.400 no.853; Rawlinson I 1908, pp.xcv, 155–6 no.277.
Wilton 1979, p.400 no.856; Rawlinson I 1908, pp.xcv, 157–8 no.280.
Wilton 1979, p.400 no.858, pl.195, reproduced; Rawlinson I 1908, pp.xcv, 158 no.282.
Another completed England and Wales-type watercolour was not engraved:
Lichfield, c.1830–5 (private collection).12 Sketch: folio 50 verso (D22068); see also the Birmingham and Coventry sketchbook (Tate D22384; Turner Bequest CCXL 33a)
See the tour introduction for other Midlands watercolours of the period.
The author is particularly grateful for the assistance of Dr Bernard Richards (Emeritus Fellow, Brasenose College, Oxford), who fortuitously contacted Tate while the present tour was being catalogued. Dr Richards enthusiastically shared his unpublished Turner research, informed by local knowledge of Dudley and Birmingham subjects in particular,13 many of which have been identified or confirmed here with his help as noted in individual entries.
Wilton 1979, p.403 no.882, reproduced.
Conversation with the author, 14 May 2013.

Matthew Imms
August 2013

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How to cite

Matthew Imms, ‘Kenilworth Sketchbook principally 1830’, sketchbook, August 2013, in David Blayney Brown (ed.), J.M.W. Turner: Sketchbooks, Drawings and Watercolours, Tate Research Publication, September 2014, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/jmw-turner/kenilworth-sketchbook-r1148614, accessed 18 May 2022.