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Reforming Landscape: Turner and Nottingham

  • Stephen Daniels
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print book series (PERCP)

Abstract

In The Dark Side of the Landscape John Barrell observes that the labourers in Turner’s oil painting Ploughing Up Turnips near Slough (1809)

slip between the two traditional ways of relating rustic figures to a landscape, and in doing so appear to us, not as Arcadians, nor automata, but as men. They are not in any way mere ‘objects of colour’ in the landscape; behind them looms the misty image of Windsor Castle, but nothing in the organisation of the picture encourages us to look through the figures in the foreground, to ignore them at first in favour of that sublime image behind them.l

Keywords

British Museum Modern Painter Grand Junction Lock Gate Church Bell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    J. Barrell, The Dark Side of the Landscape: The Rural Poor in English Painting 1730–1840 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), pp. 153–4.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    C. Payne, Toil and Plenty: Images of Agricultural Landscape in England 1780–1890 (London and New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993), pp. 87–9.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    S. Daniels, Fields of Vision: Landscape Imagery and National Identity in England and the United States (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993), p. 114.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    S. Smiles, J.M.W. Turner (London: Tate Publishing, 2000); E. Shanes, Turners Human Landscape (London: Heinemann, 1990); J. Gage, J.M.W. Turner: A Wonderful Range of Mind (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. Ruskin, Modern Painters VolumeIVOfMountain Beauty Second edition (London: George Allen, 1898), pp. 30–1.Google Scholar
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    E. Shanes, Turners Picturesque Views of England and Wales 1825–1838 (New York: Harper & Row, 1979), pp. 59–60.Google Scholar
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    M.H. Grant, A Dictionary of British Landscape Artists (Leigh-on-Sea: F. Lewis, 1952), p. 138.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    If the independently wealthy Nixon could well afford to tour, probably as part of a holiday, Turner’s and Girtin’s costs of getting to a site at this time often exceeded their payment for a drawing. Turner is said to have received some travelling expenses from The Copper-Plate Magazine as well as a two guinea fee. L. Herrmann, Turners Prints: The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner (Oxford: Phaidon,1990), pp. 10–11; M. Clarke, The Tempting Prospect: A Social History of English Watercolours (London: British Museum Publications, 1978) p. 51.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    The most represented county is Yorkshire, the largest, if also perhaps favoured by Walker whose family home was in Thirsk. The 33 sites in Yorkshire and 11 in neighbouring Lincolnshire, not a popularly scenic county, contrast with much lower frequencies in the patrician sector of Buckinghamshire (eight), Berkshire (seven) and Oxfordshire (five) and the paucity in the farming country of East Anglia and the tourist country of Lakeland and North Wales.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Ibid., Vol. 2, Plate 66. On the controversy between Repton and Price and Knight see S. Daniels, Humphry Repton: Landscape Gardening and the Geography of Georgian England (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1999), pp. 103–30.Google Scholar
  11. 15.
    The Copper-Plate Magazine Vol. 2, Plate 91; Vol. 4, Plate 157. On the discourses of urban development informing the view of Birmingham see M. Berg, ‘Representations of industrial towns: Turner and his contemporaries’, in M. Rosenthal, C. Payne and S. Wilcox (eds), Prospects for the Nation: Recent Essays on British Landscape 1750–1850 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press), 115–32.Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    ‘Matlock’ sketchbook [Finberg XIX] D00211, Clore Galley for the Turner Bequest, London.Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    R. Thoroton, The Antiquities of Nottinghamshire (London: Henry Morlock, 1677), p. 490; T. Foulds, ‘“This Great House, so Lately Begun”, and all of Freestone: William Cavendish’s Italianate Palazzo called Nottingham Castle’, Transactions of the Thoroton Society 106 (2002), pp. 82–101.Google Scholar
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    C. Deering, Nottingamia Vetus et Nova, or an Historical Account of the Ancient and Present State of the Town of Nottingham (Nottingham: George Ayscough and Thomas Willington, 1751), p. 186.Google Scholar
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    U. Price, Essays on the Picturesque Vol. 2 (Hereford: D. Walker, 1798), p. 250n. In this note Price is making a comparison with nearby Wollaton Hall, ‘a house, which for the riches of its ornaments in the near view, and the grandeur of its masses from every point, yields to few, if any, in the kingdom’. It is interesting that Turner’s only surviving sketches in the neighbourhood of Nottingham from his 1790 tour are of Wollaton Hall (‘Matlock’ sketchbook, D00246–7) but they were not worked up into designs for publication.Google Scholar
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    J. Throsby, Thorotons History of Nottinghamshire,Republished with LargeAdditions Vol. 2 (Nottingham: Burbage, Tupman, Wilson and Gray, 1790), pp. 25, 82.Google Scholar
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    For example, after T. Barber, View of Nottingham Castle, frontispiece to The History, Amtiquities and Present State of Nottingham (Nottingham: J. Dunn, 1807); Edward Finden after William Westall, Nottingham Castle, South West View, in Great Britain Illustrated (London: Charles Tillet, 1830), p. 25. An unsigned early nineteenth-century oil painting based on Turner’s view, with additional figures, boats and trees, presently hangs in The University of Nottingham’s Personnel Department.Google Scholar
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    S. Smiles, Eyewitness: Artists and Visual Documentation in Britain 1770–1830 (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000), pp. 147–78.Google Scholar
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    Quoted in W.G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W.Turner (London: Macmillan, 1908), p. 35.Google Scholar
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    Shanes, Turners Picturesque Views, pp. 18–23; E. Helsinger, ‘Turner and the Representation of England’, in W.J.T. Mitchell (ed.), Landscape and Power (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1994), pp. 103–26.Google Scholar
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    Newcastle, Henry Pelham Fiennes, Duke of, An Address to All Classes and Conditions of Englishmen (London T. & W. Boone, 1832).Google Scholar
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    R.A. Gaunt, ‘The political activities and opinions of the Fourth Duke of Newcastle 1785–1851’, unpublished PhD thesis University of Nottingham, 2000, pp. 154–216; J. Beckett, ‘The Nottingham Reform Bill Riots of 1831’, ParliamentaryHistory Supplement, October 2005, in press. My thanks to Professor Beckett for allowing me to see this before publication.Google Scholar
  31. 46.
    J. Hicklin, The History ofNottingham Castle, from the Danish Invasion to its Destruction by Rioters in 1831 (London: Hamilton, Adams,1831), p. 196.Google Scholar
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    The hearing is reprinted as an appendix to Hicklin, The History of Nottingham Castle; reported in The Times, 11 August 1832.Google Scholar
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    A Descriptive Catalogue ofDrawings by J.M.W. Turner for Views in England and Wales • and also for Sir Walter Scotts Poetical Works (London: J. Moyes, 1833), no. 60.Google Scholar
  35. 50.
    I owe this insight to Nicholas Alfrey, who, in a commentary on an early draft of this chapter, showed how the vignette structure accounted for many of the changes I described. See his account of Turner’s vignettes in N. Alfrey, ‘A Voyage Pittoresque: Byron, Turner and Childe Harold’, Renaissance and Modern Studies 32 (1988), pp. 80–96. Also J. Pigott, Turners Vignettes (London: Tate Gallery, 1993).Google Scholar
  36. 51.
    The colours of the drawing may have faded. In a note on a touched proof, Turner told the engraver to ‘get the sky right’. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner, p. 154.Google Scholar
  37. 53.
    H. Boswell, Views and Representations of the Antiquities of England and Wales (London: Alexander Hogg, 1786), np.Google Scholar
  38. 54.
    Shanes is surely right to identify this as arson, but not, also, on a precipitous rock face, as ‘stubble-burning’, Turners Picturesque Views, p. 40.Google Scholar
  39. 56.
    John Ruskin, Modern Painters, Vol. I, Of General Principles, and of Truth, new edition (London: George Allen, 1897), pp. 381–2.Google Scholar
  40. 57.
    Along with her wheel, a broken rudder is one of Fortuna’s emblems. For the use of a rudder as an image of the tiller of the ship of state see Repton’s vignette, reproduced in Daniels, Humphry Repton, p. 22. Even allowing for Turner’s transpositions, it is surely too far-fetched for Shanes to say the rudder ‘exactly resembles a butcher’s cleaver … complete with blood red handle’, Turners Picturesque Views, p. 41.Google Scholar
  41. 58.
    Hadfield, The Canals of the East Midlands, pp. 120–2; M. Denney, Historic Waterways Scenes: London and South-East England (Ashbourne: Moorland, 1980), no. 143. I am grateful to Sheila Cooke, Shardlow Heritage Trust, Denny Plowman, Nottingham Castle Museum, and P.J. Sillitoe, National Waterways Museum, for information on this.Google Scholar
  42. 60.
    See the meanings listed in the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (London: Book Club Associates, 1979), pp. 1036–7.Google Scholar
  43. 61.
    This was first noted by Eric Shanes in Turners England 1810–1838 (London: Cassell, 1996), p. 229.Google Scholar
  44. 63.
    T. Moore, Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, with a Memoir of his Life, 2 vols (London: John Murray, 1830), Vol. 1, pp. 337–9.Google Scholar
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  48. 67.
    The details of the picture are described in C. Powell, Turners Rivers ofEurope: The Rhine, Meuse and Mosel (London: Tate Gallery, 1991), pp. 112–13.Google Scholar
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  52. 74.
    The politics of Turner’s landscapes have always proved hard to pin down as a symbolic point of view; scenes of ploughing in 1809, woollen manufacture in 1815, canal transport in 1833, or a steam express train in 1844, signal the distributions of power in the land, in widening fields of vision. Daniels, Fields of Vision, pp. 112–45.Google Scholar
  53. 75.
    Shanes, Turners Picturesque Views, p. 15. Umbrella prints were illustrations torn from books and magazines before disposal for pulping and sold cheaply, for a penny or less, in the street pinned to the inside of umbrellas.Google Scholar
  54. 76.
    Private communication from the picture’s owner. Bough was a member of the Royal Society of Artists and exhibited in London until the 1870s.Google Scholar
  55. 78.
    On the 1940 purchase National-Art Collections Fund Thirty-Seventh Annual Report 1940 (London: NACF 1941), p. 9. The cost, for the time and the city, was a substantial £230, to which the NACF contributed £50. That same year Turner’s 1802 drawing Edinburgh from the Water of Leith was purchased by the fund, out of the Cochrane Trust, for £315 and presented to the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh. In 1940 Nottingham also purchased, for £15, Paul Sandby’s water-colour East View of Nottingham Castle (1777). My thanks to Michael Cooper for discussing with me relevant material in the files of the Nottingham Castle Museum.Google Scholar

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© Stephen Daniels 2005

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  • Stephen Daniels

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