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after Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1775–1851
Marford Mill
Materials & Techniques:
Letterpress and photolithograph

Lettered, upper left: "A LONG-LOST TURNER WATER- | COLOUR. BY ALEXANDER J. | FINBERG. | THE beautiful early drawing by Turner | of Marford Mill, Denbighshire, which is | here reproduced by permission of the | Cotsworld Gallery, was exhibited at the | Royal Acaemy in 1795. Turner was | twenty years of age on April 23rd, 1795, | but as the sending-in day for the exhibition | was at the end of March, the drawing must | have been done before the artist had | reached his twentieth year. The drawing | itself is remarkable for its poetical feeling, | its exquisite finish and unity and breadth | of effect, but when we know that it was | painted by a boy of ninteen we cannot | but marvel at the artist's precocious talent. | It is only now that we are able to speak | with certainty of the date when this draw- | ing was produced and to give it its proper | title. For though the Academy catalouge"; lettered, upper right: "for 1795 showed that Turner exhibited | that year a drawing of Marford Mill, all | the efforts of Turner's biographers had | failed to discover the drawing in question. | Records of sales and catalogues of loan | exhibitions were carefully searched, but no | trace of a drawing of Marford Mill could | be found. And then the inquirers got upon | a wrong scent. When Mr. C.F. Bell was | compiling his admirable book on Turner's | exhibited works his attention was drawn | to a water-colour called the Back of an | Old Water Mill, which the late Mr. J. E. | Taylor had generously presented to the | Manchester Whitworth Institute, and he | put forward the suggestion that perhaps | Mr. Taylor's drawing might have been the | one exhibited by turner in 1795. | Mr. Bell's suggested identification of the | exhibited drawing was brought forward | with all due caution, merely as a guess. | The present writer has, however, to con-"; lettered, lower center: "fess that he was misled by that suggestion | when cataloguing Turner's drawings and | sketches for the Trustees of the National | Galler, though it is quiete clear that he | has only himself to blame for the mistake | he made. Finding a small sketch-book | which contained Turner's drawing from | nature of the mill represented in the Man- | chester Whitworth drawing, he catalogued | it as the "Marford Mill Sketch-book" | (XX. Turner Bequest). As no second | ediiton of the "Inventory of the Drawings | of the Turner Bequest" is likely to be | called for, I am grateful to the Editor of | THE STUDIO for giving me this oppor- | tunity to confess my error, and to beg my | fellow-students of Turner's work to make | a note that this sketch-book has nothing | to do with Marford Mill. | The Manchester Whitworth drawing | certainly does not represent Marford Mill. | The old mill still stands beside the high- | road between Chester and Wrexham, not | far from Rossett station, and though it has | been enlarged, partly rebuilt and altered, | the gable now facing to the front, it beats | too much resemblance to the drawing here | reproduced to admit of any doubt as to its | idendification. | Any doubts that might still linger are | dispelled by the presence of a pencil draw- | ing in the Turner Bequest in the margin | 143"; lettered, upper center: "A LONG-LOST TURNER WATER-C"; lettered,lower right, below image: "MARFORD HILL" | PENCIL SKETCH BY | J..W. TURNER, R.A. | (National Gallery)"

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Prints and Drawings
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