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

ISBN 978-1-84976-386-8

Richmond Hill; Hastings to Margate sketchbook c.1816–19

Turner Bequest CXL
Sketchbook bound in boards with blue paper covers, black leather spine and corners, red and blue marbled endpapers and two vellum flaps or pencil holders
91 leaves of white wove paper
Approximate page size 155 x 95 mm
Watermarked ‘1813’
Inscribed by Turner in ink ‘Richmond Hill | Coast from Hastings to Margate’ on the front cover (D10409)
Endorsed by the Executors of the Turner Bequest ‘No.339. Contains 82 Leaves | Pencil sketches on both | sides’ and signed by Charles Turner in ink ‘C. Turner’ and by Charles Lock Eastlake and John Prescott Knight in pencil ‘C.L.E.’ and ‘JPK’ on folio 3 (D10414). Also inscribed by John Ruskin in blue ink ‘Cover of Invent 339’ inside back cover
Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Finberg abbreviated Turner’s title for this sketchbook to ‘Hastings to Margate’ but this catalogue restores the original in view of its numerous views of Richmond as well as of the South Coast. There are also views of Windsor, Eton, Walton and Laleham indicating further work along the River Thames; classical composition and life studies; and passages of Turner’s verse among other notes.
The dating of the sketchbook is problematic. Following his usual practice of dating by earliest usage, Finberg opted for 1815–16 on account of connections with The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire (Tate N00499)1 exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1817. These include drafts of the poetic epigraph for the picture, for example a passage on folio 4 (D10415) which includes historical background to the subject which Turner incorporated in its title; studies for foreground motifs on folios 8 verso and 9 (D10425, D10426); and a probable composition study on folio 81 verso (D10555; Turner Bequest CXL 73a). Finberg’s dating has been followed by many subsequent scholars but is too restricted, as he himself suspected.
Turner’s stays at his out-of-town retreat at Sandycombe Lodge, Twickenham up to 1826 gave access to Thames scenery and especially to nearby Richmond. Although Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll date such Richmond drawings as they recognised in the book circa 18152 (actually a year when Turner was tempted to give up Sandycombe because he had not been able to spend enough time there) these relate to later works beginning with England: Richmond Hill, on the Prince Regent’s Birthday (Tate N00502)3 exhibited at the Academy in 1819. Folio 85 (D10562; Turner Bequest CXL 77) has a sketch of trees on the hill that might anticipate the middle of the picture while on folio 83 (D10558; Turner Bequest CXL 75) is a draft of verse, probably an early idea for an epigraph for it, evoking the poet James Thomson; in the event Turner exhibited it with a quotation from Thomson’s Summer. Since the picture depicted what had been Sir Joshua Reynolds’s view from Wick House at the top of the hill, it is noteworthy that the house appears on folio 87 (D10566; Turner Bequest CXL 79).These drafts and motifs must be roughly contemporary with composition studies for England: Richmond Hill in the Hints River sketchbook (Tate D10601–D10606; Turner Bequest CXLI 10a–13) and Gerald Wilkinson sees both books as showing the picture ‘gradually taking shape in the artist’s mind as a major work’.
Later Richmond subjects also depend on drawings in this book. Buildings below Richmond Hill on folio 76 verso (D10545; Turner Bequest CXL 68a) could be included in the watercolour (Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight)4 engraved by Edward Goodall in 1826 for The Literary Souvenir but probably originally intended for Picturesque Views in England and Wales. Other England and Wales subjects taken in part from this book are:
Richmond Hill and Bridge (British Museum, London)5 engraved by W.R. Smith in 1832, based on drawings including folio 19 (D10445)
Richmond Terrace, Surrey (Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool)6 made circa 1836 and engraved by J.T. Willmore in 1838, partly derived from drawings running from folio 78 verso (D10549; Turner Bequest CXL 70a)
Windsor Castle, Berkshire (British Museum, London)7 engraved by William Miller in 1831, developed from, inter alia, folio 9 verso (D10427)
Eton College, Berkshire (private collection)8 engraved by William Radclyffe in 1831, from folios 14 verso–15 (D10437–D10438)
Folkestone Harbour to Dover (Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut)9 engraved by Joseph Horsbrough in 1831, from folio 39 verso (D10477; Turner Bequest CXL 35a)
Several studies of Walton Bridge like folio 51 (D10496; Turner Bequest CXL 45) indicate a fresh look at a favourite subject, preparatory to the watercolour (private collection)10 engraved by J.C. Varrall in 1830.
Turner often recycled earlier material for his watercolours, especially for England and Wales – the climax of his topographical career – and these connections suggest use of this book after 1816 and reference to it as late as the mid 1830s. The South Coast subjects, prompted mainly by Turner’s ongoing work for the Cookes’ Picturesque Views on the Southern Coast of England, are also hard to date exactly. Finberg was inclined to place them, together with the ‘Rye, Hastings, and Margate sketches’ in the Hastings sketchbook (Tate D10343–D10348; D10350–D10408; D40814; D40834; Turner Bequest CXXXIX) about 1821 or ‘after Turner’s return from Italy’11 on comparison with the Folkestone sketchbook (Tate D17207–D17364; D40685–D40686; Turner Bequest CXCVIII), which is watermarked 1819 and contains a copy of a receipt dated 3 April 1821 (though not, in Finberg’s opinion, in Turner’s writing). Of the present book Finberg wrote: ‘It seems probable that the Rye, Saltwood, and Folkestone sketches are connected with the Folkestone sketches of 1821 (see “Folkestone” Sketch Book)’. Accordingly, Gerald Wilkinson dated the whole book 1815–21.
However, Wilkinson’s question if ‘Turner really walked the coast from Hastings to Margate’ raises the possibility of a single expedition with sketchbooks to hand. In support of this, a map inside the back cover of the Hastings book (Tate D40834; Turner Bequest CXXXIX unnumbered) covers much of the same ground as the drawings here: ‘Win[Chelsea] Rye Playden Appledore Lyd[d] Romney Dunge[ness] Limne [Lympne] Castle Dimchurch [sic; Dymchurch] Hythe Saltwood Castle Sandgate Castle Folkestone Dover’. Moreover a quick outline of Hythe from the Ashford road on folio 51 here (D10497; Turner Bequest CXL 45) evidently precedes a rather more detailed version in Hastings (D10365–D10366; Turner Bequest CXXXIX 19a–20) also drawn on-site. But when was this done? Hastings is watermarked 1815 which may make that year too early while it contains a drawing (D10371D10372; Turner Bequest CXXXIX 22a–23) used for the watercolour Hastings from the Sea signed and dated 1818 (British Museum, London).12 It should also be remembered that Turner sailed from Margate to Ostend in 1817. His Italian trip in 1819 aside, he was apparently unable to make a summer tour in 1820 owing to commitments in London and an ‘accident’, perhaps a snapped Achilles tendon.13
An example of the difficulties in dating Turner’s Kent and Sussex sketchbooks, in which various projects overlap, is the view of Winchelsea from the Royal Military Road on folio 62 verso (D10517; Turner Bequest CXL 55a). Together with a closer view of the hill up to the town’s Strand Gate on folio 63 verso (D10519; Turner Bequest CXL 56a) Turner used it for his watercolour Winchelsea, Sussex, and the Military Canal (private collection).14 Variously dated between 1813 (again probably too early as the sketchbook is watermarked that year) and 1817, the watercolour was the subject of an unfinished, unpublished print by William Bernard Cooke. According to Eric Shanes, the print was originally intended for Southern Coast but was ‘obviously’ diverted by Cooke to an abortive ‘Views at Hastings and its Vicinity’ (to which Hastings from the Sea was also directed), planned as a sequel to Views in Sussex.15 However Andrew Wilton associates the unpublished print with Views in Sussex and dates the drawings of Winchelsea in this sketchbook ‘about 1815’.
Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll, The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner, revised ed. 1984, pp.100–1 no.135 (pl.137).
Ibid., p.106.
Ibid., pp.106–7 no.140 (pl.145).
Wilton 1979, p.359 no.518.
Ibid., p.397 no.833.
Ibid., p.403 no.879.
Ibid., p.397 no.829.
Ibid., p.386 no.830.
Obid., p.396 no.826.
Ibid., p.396 no.824.
Finberg 1909, p.400 [Note].
Wilton 1979, p.357 no.504 as ‘Hastings: Deep-Sea Fishing’.
For the accident, Turner to W.B. Cooke, undated, circa 1820, in John Gage, Collected Correspondence of J.M.W. Turner with an Early Diary and a Memoir by George Jones, Oxford 1980, p.84, and the tendon, Andrew Wilton, Turner in his Time, London 1987, p.128.
Wilton 1979, p.348 no.430.
Eric Shanes, ‘Sussex, Views in’, in Evelyn Joll, Martin Butlin and Luke Herrmann eds., The Oxford Companion to J.M.W. Turner, Oxford 2001, p.322.
Southern Coast subjects traceable to this sketchbook are:
Hythe (Guildhall Museum, London)16 engraved by George Cooke in 1824, based on the aforementioned sketches
Ramsgate engraved by Robert Wallis in 1824, based on folio 24 (D10576; Turner Bequest CXL 85)
Deal (Deal Town Hall)17 engraved by William Radclyffe in 1826, based on folios 30 verso, 40–41 (D10461, D10580–D10582)
Dover from Shakespeare’s Cliff (currently untraced)18 engraved by George Cooke in 1826, based on folio 37 verso (D10473; Turner Bequest CXL 33a)
Rye (National Museum of Wales, Cardiff)19 engraved by Edward Goodall in 1824, based in part on folio 62 (D10516; Turner Bequest CXL 55)
As usual, on-the-spot drawings may predate the watercolours by several years. Via a watercolour (Tate D18150; Turner Bequest CCVIII Q) Turner recycled his Ramsgate views for The Ports of England. As a further caution in the matter of date, a sketch of Ramsgate on folio 22 verso (D10451; Turner Bequest CXL 22a) includes the so-called Ramsgate Castle said to have been built in 1819. If Turner’s drawing is earlier, construction must already have been well advanced.
Life studies in this book were probably made in the Academy’s Life School, where Turner was an Annual Visitor (instructor) in 1813, 1822, 1823, 1825, 1830, 1831, 1834, 1835 and 1837. Some seem to have been made to elucidate figures for The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire.
Wilton 1979, p.354 no.475.
Ibid., p.355 no.481.
Ibid., p.355 no.483.
Ibid., pp.353–4 no.471.
Finberg’s observations on this sketchbook must be quoted in full:
Covers were broken off and pages distributed, but as they were numbered it has been possible to reconstitute the volume.
The leaves were divided into two parcels. Mr. Ruskin’s endorsement on first:
“Invent. 339. The better leaves of it. Studies for Richmond and Walton Bridge.”
This parcel contained 20 leaves in all, viz.:–
Nos.14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 23, 36, 37, 42, 43, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 68.
Endorsement on second parcel:–
“Invent. 339. Valueless leaves of it – at Eton, Winchelsea and Richmond.”
This parcel contained all the remaining leaves, except pp.9, 13, 45, 70, viz., 61 in all.
Note, the pages are numbered the reverse way of the journey.
The ‘distribution’ of the contents of the book was clearly the work of John Ruskin, and reflected his opinion of its relative merit. He seems previously to have numbered the leaves (in either blue or red ink) but the order may not have been the original.
An oddity in Ruskin’s numbering is that he gave two folios as 66, calling the second (now folio 74, D10540) ‘66B’. Folio 57 (mentioned above) was not numbered at all, an anomaly retained by Finberg who described it with the previous leaf.
In a separate note, Finberg added that his ‘Pages 85–90’ were ‘loose and unnumbered’ but ‘probably belonged originally to this book’. The book has since been rearranged to incorporate them. Those now bound is as folios 40 and 41 (D10580, D10582; Turner Bequest CXL 87, 88) look most out of place, from a technical point of view. Both have a fold or join across the centre with what look holes or stitch marks as if they were formerly bound differently, perhaps in a smaller book as double-spreads. If so this arrangement would have preceded their location as described by Finberg, as ‘Pages’ 87 and 88, so they may have been moved at least three times.
A concordance follows, running from folio 24 where divergences from Finberg’s sequence begin.
Folio TateTurner Bequest
24 RectoD10576CXL 85
24 VersoD10577CXL 85a
25 Verso D10585CXL 90
26 RectoD10584CXL 89a
26 VersoD10583CXL 89
27 RectoD10454CXL 24
27 VersoD10455CXL 24a
28 RectoD10456CXL 25
28 VersoD10457CXL 25a
29 RectoD10458CXL 26
29 VersoD10459CXL 26a
30 RectoD10460CXL 27
30 VersoD10461CXL 27a
31 RectoD10462CXL 28
31 VersoD10463CXL 28a
32 RectoD10464CXL 29
32 VersoD10465CXL 29a
33 RectoD10466CXL 30
33 VersoD10467CXL 30a
34 RectoD10468CXL 31
34 VersoD10469CXL 31a
35 RectoD10470CXL 32
35 VersoD10471CXL 32a
36 RectoD10579CXL 86a
36 VersoD10578CXL 86
37 RectoD10472CXL 33
37 VersoD10473CXL 33a
38 RectoD10474CXL 34
38 VersoD10475CXL 34a
39 RectoD10476CXL 35
39 VersoD10477CXL 35a
40 RectoD10580CXL 87
40 VersoD10581CXL 87a
41 RectoD10582CXL 88
42 RectoD10478CXL 36
42 VersoD10479CXL 36a
43 RectoD10480CXL 37
43 VersoD10481CXL 37a
44 RectoD10482CXL 38
44 VersoD10483CXL 38a
45 RectoD10484CXL 39
45 VersoD10485CXL 39a
46 RectoD10486CXL 40
46 VersoD10487CXL 40a
47 RectoD10488CXL 41
47 VersoD10489CXL 41a
48 RectoD10490CXL 42
48 VersoD10491CXL 42a
49 RectoD10492CXL 43
49 VersoD10493CXL 43a
50 RectoD10494CXL 44
50 VersoD10495CXL 44a
51 RectoD10496CXL 45
51 VersoD10497CXL 45a
52 RectoD10498CXL 46
52 VersoD10499CXL 46a
53 RectoD10500CXL 47
53 VersoD10501CXL 47a
54 RectoD10502CXL 48
54 VersoD10503CXL 48a
55 RectoD10504CXL 49
55 VersoD10505CXL 49a
56 RectoD10506CXL 50
56 VersoD10507CXL 50a
57 RectoD41539-
58 RectoD10508CXL 51
58 VersoD10509CXL 51a
59 RectoD10510CXL 52
59 VersoD10511CXL 52a
60 RectoD10512CXL 53
60 VersoD10513CXL 53a
61 RectoD10514CXL 54
61 VersoD10515CXL 54a
62 RectoD10516CXL 55
62 VersoD10517CXL 55a
63 RectoD10518CXL 56
63 VersoD10519CXL 56a
64 RectoD10520CXL 57
64 VersoD10521CXL 57a
65 RectoD10522CXL 58
65 VersoD10523CXL 58a
66 RectoD10524CXL 59
66 VersoD10525CXL 59a
67 RectoD10526CXL 60
67 VersoD10527CXL 60a
68 RectoD10528CXL 61
68 VersoD10529CXL 61a
69 RectoD10530CXL 62
69 VersoD10531CXL 62a
70 RectoD10532CXL 63
70 VersoD10533CXL 63a
71 RectoD10534CXL 64
71 VersoD10535CXL 64a
72 RectoD10536CXL 65
72 VersoD10537CXL 65a
73 RectoD10538CXL 66
73 VersoD10539CXL 66a
74 RectoD10540CXL 66b
74 VersoD10541CXL 66c
75 RectoD10542CXL 67
75 VersoD10543CXL 67a
76 RectoD10544CXL 68
76 VersoD10545CXL 68a
77 RectoD10546CXL 69
77 Verso D10547CXL 69a
78 RectoD10548CXL 70
78 VersoD10549CXL 70a
79 RectoD10550CXL 71
79 VersoD10551CXL 71a
80 RectoD10552CXL 72
80 VersoD10553CXL 72a
81 RectoD10554CXL 73
81 VersoD10555CXL 73a
82 RectoD10556CXL 74
82 VersoD10557CXL 74a
83 RectoD10558CXL 75
83 VersoD10559CXL 75a
84 RectoD10560CXL 76
84 VersoD10561CXL 76a
85 RectoD10562CXL 77
85 VersoD10563CXL 77a
86 RectoD10564CXL 78
86 VersoD10565CXL 78a
87 RectoD10566CXL 79
87 VersoD10567CXL 79a
88 RectoD10568CXL 80
88 VersoD10569CXL 80a
89 RectoD10570CXL 81
89 VersoD10571CXL 81a
90 RectoD10572CXL 82
90 VersoD10573CXL 82a
91 RectoD10574CXL 83
92 RectoD10575CXL 84

David Blayney Brown
July 2011

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How to cite

David Blayney Brown, ‘Richmond Hill; Hastings to Margate sketchbook c.1816–19’, sketchbook, July 2011, 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/richmond-hill-hastings-to-margate-sketchbook-r1131390, accessed 21 May 2024.