High force, Fall of the Tees, Yorkshire
Joseph Mallord William Turner
1775 - 1851
This watercolour was commissioned from Turner in 1816 as one of a series intended to serve as an engraved illustration to a 'History of Richmondshire' by the Rev. Thomas Dunham Whitaker. Turner spent the summer of 1816 on a sketching tour of Yorkshire. His base was Farnley Hall, the seat of his friend, William Fawkes. He worked at great speed on a number of watercolours simultaneously, building up his landscapes with fluid washes of translucent colour. Witnessing Turner at work, the Fawkes girls recalled "cords spread across the room as in that of a washer woman, and papers tinted with pink and blue and yellow hanging on them to dry".
When these sheets were dry Turner added final details with the point of the brush, such as the two fishermen, casting and netting, in the pool. A keen angler, Turner would have been interested that High Force was an impassable barrier to salmon, and that the pool at its base was often full of fish. He depicted the cascading water and ripples on the pool by scraping out areas of paint to expose the paper beneath.
watercolour and scraping out
28.3 x 40.3 cm sheet; 28.2 x 39.8 cm sight; 47.0 x 59.0 x 5.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Not on display
Shown in 8 exhibitions
(Unknown, Exhibition at London residence of Mr Walter Fawkes), 45 Grosvenor Place, London, 1819–1819
Unknown, Leeds 1893, Exhibition Venue Unknown, 1893–1893
J.M.W. Turner, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 11 Oct 1961–31 Oct 1961
English landscape watercolours, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 29 Apr 1997–07 Jul 1997
Victorian watercolours: selections from the collection, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 08 Jul 2000–27 Aug 2000
The triumph of landscape: Turner to Monet, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 14 Mar 2008–09 Jul 2008
Turner from the Tate: the making of a master:
Victorian watercolours, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 02 Jun 2017–03 Dec 2017
Walter Ramsden Fawkes, pre 1825, England, Farnley Hall, Otley near Leeds. a Member of Parliament and High Sherriff
Rev. Ayscough Fawkes, 1825-27 Jun 1890, England, by descent to Ayscough Fawkes. Sold Chritie's London, 27 June 1890, lot 39
Sir Henry Doulton, 27 Jun 1890-1897, England, Purchased from Ayscongh Fawkes' sale of Turner drawings from Farnley Hall through Christie's 27 June 1890 lot 39.
Miss Doulton, 1897-circa 1947, England, by descent, sold to P & D Colnaghi & Co.
P & D Colnaghi and Co, pre Mar 1947, London/England, Purchased by the AGNSW from Colnaghi's 1947
Referenced in 11 publications
David Blaney Brown, JMW Turner, 'Rule Britannia? Patriotism, Progress and the Picturesque in Turner's Britain', pg. 48-72, Canberra, 1996, 58, 61 (colour illus.), 232. cat.no. 48
Renée Free, Art Gallery of New South Wales handbook, 'European', pg. 36-56, Sydney, 1988, 38, 39 (illus.).
Renée Free, AGNSW Collections, 'The Western Heritage, Renaissance to Twentieth Century', pg. 108-172, Sydney, 1994, 108, 126 (colour illus.).
Simeran Maxwell, Turner to Monet: the triumph of landscape painting, 'J.M.W Turner', pg. 104, Canberra, 2008, 104, 105 (colour illus.). cat.no. 29
Nicola Moorby, Turner from the Tate: the making of a master, 'Britain: the home front', pg.124-47, London, 2013, 124, 130 (colour illus.). no. 42
The Life of J.M.W. Turner, Oxford, 1939. Appendix no. 221
Land Marks: impressions of England's national nature reserves, England, 2003, 78-8 (colour illus.). illustration is in reverse
Victorian watercolours: selections from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Watercolour verses oil', pg.4-8, Sydney, 2000, 4 (colour illus.), 5. cat.no. 36
Victorian watercolours from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2017, p 17, col illus p 13 fig 2.
Art Gallery of New South Wales picturebook, Sydney, 1972, 20 (colour illus.).